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What People Said About the Philippine Public

Transparency Reporting Project


It re-awakens the interest of the ordinary citizens and made them understand
better their stake and responsibilities in the community, in particular, and the
country in general.
Salute to all your efforts to educate as many people and groups as possible on public
finance and budgeting system and in putting in place local citizens groups as
watchdogs.
Realization that we can do more for this country if we are aware of whats
happening and act; do something together for a better and transparent
governance.
I think this a great time to unite and be part of building transparency in the
government and fight graft and corruption.
It raised the awareness of the media and civil society circles on reporting graft
and corruption in the government, as well as the skills on how to report it.
Hope what has been started by this project will be continued and spread to wider
areas. The local citizens groups hopefully will multiply and positively help in
curbing corruption at both local and national levels.
Stop piloting ... expand...extend...replicate if we wish see a big difference and
sustained effort.
Great job. I wish this group can help set up a local corruption watchdog in the
province of Ilocos Norte.
It alarmed the corrupt officials in our locality and somewhat informed people
that there is a venue for their grievances related to corruption.
Government officials became more conscious that they are watched and monitored
and (are now) acting scrupulously in making decisions. Revenue collection increased
by using a better and more transparent policy on tax collection.
Excerpted from results of electronic end-of-project survey.

With an Introduction by
Alan Davis
Project Director

Red Batario
Editor

G Sevilla Alvarez
Emy Bonifacio
Abner P. Francisco
Rorie Fajardo
Ma. Constante A. Perfecto
Chapter Writers

Pera Natin to
Copyright 2011

Published by the Philippine Public Transparency Reporting Project


4th Floor FSS Bldg., 89 Scout Castor St., Barangay Laging Handa
Quezon City 1103 Philippines
All rights reserved
The contents of this handbook and the views expressed herein are solely the
responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the
United States Agency for International Development (USAID) or the United
States Government or the American Bar Association Rule of Law Initiative.
Neither do they necessarily reflect the views of the four partner organizations
who comprise the Philippine Public Transparency Reporting Project.
No part of this book may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system,
or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical,
photocopying, microfilming, recording or otherwise, without written
permission from the publisher.
Printed in Quezon City, Philippines

INSIDE
i. The Philippine Public Transparency Reporting Project
ii. The Partners
iii. Introduction: Pera Natin To! Public Ownership of
Transparency Initiatives
By Alan Davis

one Media-Citizen
Engagement:
Setting a Transformative Agenda

By Red Batario

two Developing
Local Media-Citizen
Transparency Groups


three Building
Local Capacities:
Transparency and
Anti-Corruption Training
By Rorie Fajardo

four Using
Surveys to Gauge
Participation Effectiveness

By G Sevilla Alvarez &



Ma. Constante A. Perfecto

five Managing Risks


six Reference Guide
seven Glossary of Terms

The Philippine
Public
Transparency
Reporting Project

his project was built on the belief that corruption in public


life will only ever be reduced when ordinary people are able to
understand, monitor -- and ultimately have a say on where and
how public money is spent.
Its our money (pera natin to). Every centavo lost to corruption is
a centavo stolen from education, poverty reduction, social services
and job creation. Ultimately, beating corruption will result in more
inward investment, serious economic development and far fewer
people leaving home in search of a better life overseas.
Transparency and accountability are the greatest enemies of
corruption yet despite repeated pledges of action by successive
presidents since the end of martial law, neither has played any real
part in government anti-graft strategies, until now. Precious few
gains have been made with some polls showing people believing
corruption was in fact getting worse.
Taking on these beliefs, partner organizations such as the Institute
for War and Peace Reporting (IWPR), Center for Community
Journalism and Development (CCJD), MindaNews, and National
Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP), worked together

The Philippine Public Transparency Reporting Project

with the key objective of increasing the capacity of journalists,


civil society and the public in selected areas in the Philippines to
expose corrupt behavior in the public sector and to promote anticorruption best practices through:
Conduct of anti-corruption Information, Education,
Communications (IEC) campaign, such as the website
portal, reporting and confidential hotline to report
corruption allegations
Training of local media practitioners and civil society
workers on reporting corruption and accountability
Creation of anti-corruption network and constituency
among media and civil society groups and others
Everybody can and should be involved. Too many anti-corruption
initiatives have focused on just one group, interest or sector and
failed to realize that real power and change stems from different and
disparate communities and people coming together to organize,
share knowledge, forge links, build pressure and collectively force
change.

Institute for War and Peace Reporting


The Institute for War and Peace Reporting (IWPR) helps support
democratic development and the rule of law in regions of crisis
and transition through professional media development. IWPR
establishes sustainable networks and institutions, develops skills
and professionalism, provides extensive reliable reporting, and
builds cross-cultural and regional dialogue and debate.

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Philippine Public Transparency Reporting Project

IWPR provides intensive hands-on training, extensive reporting


and publishing alongside other initiatives to build the capacity
of local and regional media with a strong focus on human rights,
international justice and the rule of law. IWPR was initially
launched to help combat the rise of nationalist media and hate
speech in the former Yugoslavia and now exists as an international
network for media development, with four not-for-profit divisions
in Europe, the US and Africa supporting training and capacitybuilding programs for local journalism, with field programs in
more than 20 transitional states.

PPTRP implementing partners IWPR, CCJD, MindaNews and NUJP in a meeting

IWPR is registered as a charity in the United Kingdom, a nonprofit organization under Section 21 in South Africa, and is taxexempted under Section 501(c) (3) in the United States.
For more information, visit www.iwpr.net

The Philippine Public Transparency Reporting Project

11

Center for Community Journalism and


Development
The Center for Community Journalism and Development (CCJD)
is a media development organization that provides a platform for
dialogue and exchange between local news media and citizens
on matters and issues that impact on their communities through
journalism for empowerment. The CCJD builds capacities in
news reporting and in developing media-citizen engagement
mechanisms. It likewise strengthens community-based media
networks and journalism initiatives anchored on the principles of
public journalism that promotes the idea that the news belongs to
the people and that the news should lead to the solution of local
problems.
It also works for the safety of community journalists through
the Asia-Pacific office of the International News Safety Institute
(INSI), a non-profit coalition of media organizations around the
world dedicated to the protection of journalists everywhere by
providing hostile environment, first aid and basic life support, and
trauma awareness training and advocacy.
It is a founding member of the Freedom Fund for Filipino
Journalists (FFFJ) which was established to provide economic and
legal support to families of slain journalists.
The CCJD was registered on October 11, 2001 with the Securities
and Exchange Commission (SEC) as a non-stock, non-profit
organization.
For more information, visit www.ccjd.org

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Philippine Public Transparency Reporting Project

MindaNews
MindaNews of the Mindanao News and Information Cooperative
Center (MNICC) is a cooperative of independent, professional
journalists who believe and practice people empowerment through
media. It believes that Mindanao is not all bad news and that
the responsibility of its members as journalists and information
providers is to ensure a mixed balance of reports beyond the
usual fare published in national newspapers or aired on radio and
television. Its mission is to professionally and responsibly cover
Mindanao events, peoples and issues to inform, educate, inspire
and influence communities.
It envisions being the leading provider of accurate, timely and
comprehensive news information on Mindanao and its peoples,
serving economically, politically and culturally empowered
communities. MindaNews services include the MindaNews
publications, a one-stop-shop for books; MindaPrints, the coops
computer and printing services; MindaNews Video and Photo
Bank; and training for media practitioners, journalists, students,
communities, non-government organizations and cooperatives.
For more information, visit www.mindanews.com

National Union of Journalists of the


Philippines
The National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP)
is a nationwide organization of journalists and media workers
committed to securing the interests of the Filipino working press.

The Philippine Public Transparency Reporting Project

13

It binds journalists to a covenant to ethical conduct and


commitment to public trust. It also seeks to promote and safeguard
the economic interest and social well-being of the working press,
upgrade professional skills, raise the standards of journalistic ethics,
carry out welfare program for its members, and foster fraternal
solidarity with all journalists everywhere.
The NUJP is active in campaigns against journalist killings,
criminal libel and other forms of attack against press freedom. It
also pushes for the peoples access to information right through
legislative action and education campaigns.
NUJP has an extensive training program for journalists which
includes modules on conflict reporting, child sensitive reporting
and crime reporting.
NUJP maintains a Safety Office in cooperation with the
International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) to document cases of
attacks against members of media, and provide safety training and
assistance to journalists under threat. NUJP also has a scholarship
program for children of slain journalists.
For more information, visit www.nujp.org

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Philippine Public Transparency Reporting Project

Introduction

Pera Natin to!


Public Ownership
of Transparency
Initiatives
By Alan Davis

he publication of this book marks the final output of the


Philippine Public Transparency Reporting Project (PPTRP). When
the four partner groups that made up PPTRP joined together to
conceive, design and launch the project 20 months ago, governance
in many respects looked quite different.
Yet in some respects too, things still look the same today. Structural
change doesnt happen easily.
Undoubtedly, back then, the twin issues of transparency and
accountability were not highly rated by the previous administration
and one of the first things we did in our project was to start
meeting like-minded civil society organizations to suggest that
whoever won the looming Presidential Elections of 2010, we should
all come together and set out a collective agenda and roadmap on
transparency and accountability for the new administration to
seriously consider and hopefully incorporate for the sake of the
Filipino people.

Pera Natin to! Public Ownership of Transparency Initiatives

15

At the same time, we knew that good ideas and hope are never
enough -- and that if we all simply waited for a new government to
introduce necessary changes by itself, we could be waiting forever.
Even governments with the greatest intentions can fail if they do
not have the right strategy or engage in the right way.
The starting point of PPTRP has been that real and lasting
transparency and accountability are best built from the ground up
piece by piece and by ordinary people taking their responsibilities
as citizens seriously. It is one of the reasons we subtitled the project
and website Pera Natin to! (Its Our Money!). We wanted to
help build public ownership in the issue. Our concern was and
remains still today that changes introduced at the top by one
administration can so easily be taken away by another unless that
change is deeply rooted in the ground and in its people.
So we believed- and still believe that real sustainable change in
governance comes only from active and continual participation
of citizens. It needs action and engagement at both the national
and local level. It needs groups, sectors and communities finding
new ways of coming and working together to develop new ideas
and build new constituencies and avenues for change. It needs to
involve and energise all those hundreds of thousands of honest and
professional civil servants across the country who for way too long
have quietly despaired going to work each day given the failure of
leadership in their own departments and agencies.
All this required and still requires a combined response that uses
new thinking and approaches. It required first and foremost the
start of a public literacy campaign around public finances since
citizens cannot ever hope to adequately monitor or engage in
things that they dont understand. So it was that we built our
project equally around information, education, training, capacity-

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Philippine Public Transparency Reporting Project

building, networking, advocacy and campaigns. So it was that we


worked with peoples organizations, civil society groups, media and
ordinary members of the public at one and the same time. We
figured that everybody had a role to play in building and securing
transparency and accountability and so everybody should get
involved.
We started work on a website full of the basics (www.
transparencyreporting.net) accessible and easy to understand
information about all aspects of public finance. We assumed little
partly because we knew little ourselves and were learning on
the job as we went. We wrote, commissioned and edited material
designed to give readers a sense of understanding about how public
finances, systems and cycles worked and what kind of issues and
problems there were. We tried to identify how and where money
was raised and how it was allocated and spent and why and by
whom. Invariably it comes down to money. If you can follow the
money, you can find the problems and perhaps even help suggest
some solutions.
We developed training modules too modules aimed equally at
journalists and activists and ordinary members of the public. And
we toured around the Philippines going north and as far south
as Tawi-Tawi where we were told few groups ever venture. We
encouraged people to report allegations of corruption but equally
we sought out instances of where government was working well and
deserved highlighting. It is easy to be negative but far better to
be critically constructive. We received many more allegations than
we could investigate in large part because sources were scared
even to follow up and meet with us in confidence. Protection for
whistle-blowers remains very much a pressing issue today that
needs sorting.

Pera Natin to! Public Ownership of Transparency Initiatives

17

We also tried to highlight and campaign on issues close to our


heart like pork barrel, Statement of Assets, Liabilities and Networth and access to information: We were probably the first to
spot and highlight serious problems in government-owned and
-controlled corporations back in March 2010 but only because
we read about them in a Commission on Audit report. As is often
the case, sometimes the information is already there and we just
need to look for it more closely.
Looking back there are many things we could have done differently
and things we could have done better. As a very small group we felt
ourselves continually being pulled in all directions. There was so
much to do and so few hours in the day.
At our public launch on March 23, 2010, we heavily criticised the
practise of politicians using publicly-funded projects to promote
themselves: Allowing their names and faces to be plastered over
billboards, schools, ambulances, bridges and the likes of barangay
halls was symptomatic of the corruption than runs deep through
the countrys institutions and political system.
While all projects must by necessity always remain above the
political fray, we were naturally delighted that as things turned out,
the new incoming administration made improving transparency
and accountability a primary goal. When an initiative finds itself
working in support of government policy, it is always easier. So we
were delighted to see the issue of political abuse of public projects
taken up as were the appointment of some leading proponents of
open government to key positions in the administration. We were
very fortunate also for the chance to work closely with officials in
several key departments and on various initiatives linked to the
national budget.

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Philippine Public Transparency Reporting Project

There are still a great many more things we would like to see
change and happen and we still have plenty of ideas but simply
and sadly, we have just run out of time. It is heartening though
to end with the results of the electronic surveys we set up showing
that both project participants and those with no association with
PPTRP have helped validate our thinking and approach. The
substantial feedback received so far shows we were not so totally
wrong.
The vast majority of respondents to our surveys still dont think
government and constitutional institutions and agencies are all
working as they should and that citizens must play a more organized
and active role and that change just wont happen without it.
Perhaps one key achievement we might be remembered for,
alongside the website which will remain as hopefully a useful
resource for those wanting to learn more about public sector
finances -- is having set up four local citizen watchdog groups that
demonstrate how easy and important it is for ordinary people to
get involved and play their part. We hope more groups can follow
their lead. People power needs to be much more than a slogan and
become a way of life.
We at PPTRP have only scratched the surface of what can and
should be done in terms of citizen engagement.
Now it is over to youand the very best of luck.

Pera Natin to! Public Ownership of Transparency Initiatives

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Philippine Public Transparency Reporting Project

one

Media-Citizen
Engagement:
Setting a
Transformative
Agenda
By Red Batario

Everybody can and should be involved. Too many anti-corruption


initiatives have focused on just one group, interest or sector and
failed to realize that real power and change stems from different and
disparate communities and people coming together to organize, share
knowledge, forge links, build pressure and collectively force change...

from the Philippine Public Transparency Reporting Project


briefing.

hat journalists and citizens should not be merely spectators


in public life but active participants committed to making their
communities work is an assertion that has over time been translated
into actual initiatives and experiments in a number of places around
the Philippines.
While this may appear to fly in the face of the journalists indulgent
self-image of an independent, unaffected, and neutral bystander
while events and public life unfold, democratic accountability, in
the words of communications lecturer Dr. Katrin Voltmer in The
Role of the News Media in the Governance Reform Agenda, covers a whole

Media-Citizen Engagement: Setting a Transformative Agenda

21

spectrum of society and not just political power holders but also
the citizens and the media that link government and citizens.
This means that responsibility lies on the shoulders of both the
news media and citizens to help make public life work and to
see to it that civic engagement is alive and well by allowing for
informed, deliberative discussion to take place especially in the face
of complex processes of change.
It is also one way by which citizens and journalists can begin to reimagine democracy by working together to build new approaches
in addressing things that are wrong and underlining those that are
working.
In an ideal world, one the most powerful ways to address public
malfeasance, the most insidious of which is corruption, is to
ensure that citizens have access to the same information as their
government. Here the role of the press comes into even sharper
focus as it is expected to give voice to what has been described as
the unorganized majority.
The UNDP, in its report Tackling Corruption, Transforming
Lives: Accelerating Human Development in Asia and the Pacific,
said that the news media is a principal watch group monitoring
and exposing corruption through newspapers, television, radio,
and increasingly, the Internet.
Tackling corruption is not a job for governments alone. Civil
society must play its part by monitoring and reporting on standards
of government and also by refusing to pay bribes or collude with
corrupt officials. Individuals, civil society and the media all need
to stay alert, demanding the highest ethical standards and resolving
to reject corruption wherever it appears, the report said.

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Philippine Public Transparency Reporting Project

It went on to say that They (the news media) can serve many
important functions beyond just exposing corruption. The media
can sustain an open and transparent flow of information, fostering
a climate of opinion that is increasingly intolerant of corruption.
To do this, the news media not only must engage citizens but must
ensure that their community connectedness is firmly in place in
setting an agenda for change. This in a way enables the press to
facilitate democratic citizenship, a necessary ingredient in the fight
against corruption and wrongdoing.

Media interviews WATCH Kidapawan members during their launch in June 2010.

Civil society and the media are crucial to maintaining an


atmosphere in public life that discourages fraud and corruption.
Indeed, they are arguably the two most important factors in
eliminating systemic corruption in public institutions, said Rick
Stapenhurst in his World Bank Institute paper, The Medias Role
in Curbing Corruption.
Media-Citizen Engagement: Setting a Transformative Agenda

23

It is exactly this assertion that enhances the framework of mediacitizen engagement that is one of the guiding principles of the
public journalism philosophy that in turn situates journalists as
community stakeholders and active participants in civic life.
Public journalism principles by themselves are rights-based as they
engage, involve and ensure that citizens voices are heard in issues
that impact on their daily lives. Public journalism is sometimes
also referred to as community-connected journalism or civic
journalism and shares one common characteristic: there is no
exclusive ownershipit is owned and shared by all who believe
in its possibilities and who are willing to take it to new directions.
By adopting the framework and the same principles, the Philippine
Public Transparency Reporting Project (PPTRP) helped propel its
media-citizen engagement approaches to build local transparency
reporting mechanisms that are in turn propelled by the need to
enhance and strengthen the capacity of rights holders in local
participation.
By providing some sort of a roadmap for citizens and journalists as
to what they can do, and how, in addressing transparency issues the
PPTRP began examining problems and also how these can be solved.
Experiments like these have had strong bases in past initiatives such
as those undertaken by the Center for Community Journalism and
Development (CCJD) recently cited by the United Nations Office
of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (UNOHCHR) in
effectively addressing the issue of continuing lack of transparency
and accountability, protection of social and economic rights and
other basic human rights.
The UNOHCHR, through its publication Good Governance Practices
to Protect Human Rights, pointed out how the project sought to bring

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Philippine Public Transparency Reporting Project

the Philippine media and civil society organizations together by


allowing them to examine the extent of their collaborative tolerance
and common points of agreement in order for them to strengthen
the ability of local communities to participate in governance.

Journalists and CSO workers study budget transparency issues in a joint seminar by
PPTRP and Social Watch Philippines.

The project was designed to raise awareness within communities


about their right to participate in local government and to empower
them to demand good governance practices. The media contributed
by sparking debate on local issues as well as by facilitating advocacy
networks between communities, local governments and civil
society organizations, particularly on issues important to the poor,
the marginalized and the disadvantaged. The motivation behind
this endeavor was the understanding that the media are not simply
communicators of facts, but that they also influence public policy
agendas and can act as catalysts for community efforts to demand
good governance.
Media-Citizen Engagement: Setting a Transformative Agenda

25

The UNOHCHR also cited two cases of media-citizen engagement


initiatives that looked into how media and civil society examined
the effectiveness of local policies and governance on education,
health and food security in Palawan, and how the media in Iloilo
City responded to the initiatives of communities themselves by
working with a local NGO to create a space for the community
members to express their opinions on such issues as environmental
degradation, below par public works, and delivery of basic services.
While these can be considered as useful templates for media-citizen
engagement initiatives, current realities and emerging challenges
may also help shape future undertakings of a similar nature. Other
tools and technologies, such as social media and the worldwide
web can have a huge impact on how these engagements will
move forward. What is important to remember is that the same
framework and principles can serve as a beacon when wading in
uncharted waters. This is not simply about journalism but about
journalism that is inclusive and is unafraid to re-imagine itself by
creating a deliberative public.
Jay Rosen, author of the book What Are Journalists For? had this
to say about it: Publics are formed when we turn from our private
and separate affairs to face common problems, and to face each
other in dialogue and discussion.
In the quest for transparent and accountable governance, a press
that is unafraid, free and responsible and a public that is vigilant
and concerned will emerge as a potent weapon given the immensity
of the challenge and the insidiousness of this multi-headed monster
called corruption. Everything must be brought to bear with
vigor and resoluteness or else suffer the dire consequences as this
trenchant editorial from a newspaper in Guatemala wanted to say.

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Philippine Public Transparency Reporting Project

When in a society the shameless triumph; when the abuser is


admired; when principles end and only opportunism prevails;
when the insolent rule and the people tolerate it; when everything
becomes corrupt but the majority is silentWhen so many whens
unite, perhaps it is time to hide oneself; time to suspend the battle;
time to stop being a Quixote; it is time to review our activities, reevaluate those around us, and return to ourselves quoted from
Guatemalas La Prensa by Robert Klitgaard in the book Corrupt
Cities: A Practical Guide to Cure and Prevention.
The PPTRP initiative has shown that there are many ways by which
corruption in the Philippines can be addressed and media-citizen
engagement is one mechanism or system by which to effectively
do it. What remains is for others to take on the challenge by
replicating similar efforts around the country in a demonstration
of intolerance for corruption.

Media-Citizen Engagement: Setting a Transformative Agenda

27

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Philippine Public Transparency Reporting Project

two

Developing Local
Media-Citizen
Transparency
Groups

hen the Philippine Public Transparency Reporting Project


was conceived, one of its major objectives was to develop mechanisms
through which the media and citizens can work together to address
corruption issues in local areas. Four pilot areas were selected based
on several factors such as the willingness and ability of the media
and civil society to work together to tackle transparency issues,
capacity to move forward the initiative, probability of replication
by other areas, and to some extent, indicators for success like
previous efforts at media-citizen engagement.
These bold experiments were undertaken in Kidapawan City,
North Cotabato; Catbalogan, Samar; Tagbilaran, Bohol; and,
Ozamiz City, Misamis Occidental. All have varied levels of success
given different sets of circumstances and situations, challenges,
media environment and sectoral interaction.

Developing Local Media-Citizen Transparency Groups

29

The Transparency Reporting Groups


WATCH Kidapawan (Watchful Advocates for Transparent,
Clean and Honest Governance in Kidapawan)
MATA-Samar (Multi-Sectoral Alliance for Transparency
and Accountability in Samar)
Bohol TNT (Bohol
Transformation)

Transparency

Network

for

Misamis Occidental PTC (Misamis Occidental Public


Transparency Collective)
The transparency groups were formed by media and civil society
groups through consultations, dialogues and training workshops
on reporting transparency and accountability through an
understanding, for example, of budget and procurement processes.
By presenting their experiences in these pages, it is hoped that others
may be inspired to build their own media-citizen transparency
groups and perchance help reduce malfeasance in governance.
Here is how two of the reporting groups did it.

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Philippine Public Transparency Reporting Project

WATCH Kidapawan
When People Own the News
By Abner P. Francisco

Alan Davis

Many people in North Cotabato initially thought that the idea to unify
different civil society and media organizations to form an advocacy group
to fight corruption was next to impossible.

Media and CSO workers in Kidapawan City discuss transparency and corruption issues
in their city and possibilities of forming their own local monitoring group.

It was understandable as many of them still suffer from the trauma of


having been harassed and jailed for demanding better governance. Six
years ago, several people in Kidapawan City were arrested and jailed for
calling for reforms and an end to corruption in government. One of
those put behind bars was lawyer Concepcion Connie Brizuela, legal
counsel of the Diocese of Kidapawan and one of the founders of the local
anti-corruption group Kutabatenyos Alang sa Maaying Panggobyerno or
KALAMPAG (People of Cotabato for Good Governance). Brizuela would
later be killed in the infamous Maguindanao Massacre in 2009.
Developing Local Media-Citizen Transparency Groups

31

A local official belonging to the biggest political clan in the province


charged Brizuela and three others with libel after they wrote about his
alleged abuses and malpractices.
They were locked up in a cell for three nights and three days but people
of the province launched their own version of people power to have them
released. Led by then Kidapawan Bishop Romulo Valles DD, thousands
marched to the Kidapawan City police station to stage a prayer rally,
concert for a cause, and a fund raising drive dubbed Piso-Piso Para sa
Piniriso, (A Peso for Jailed Friends). Brizuela and her colleagues later
posted bail but the case dragged on for years. It was dismissed by the
Court in 2009 but by then the case had taken its toll on the people behind
KALAMPAG who had to concentrate on their defense.
The group later disbanded, saddening many of those who saw KALAMPAG
as a potent mechanism for governance reform.
Bebiano Gabo of the human rights group KARAPATAN said they found it
hard to address complaints brought to their attention. When KALAMPAG
became inactive we were left receiving all the complaints from people. It
was hard as we were also undermanned. We are very glad that WATCH
Kidapawan (as a multi-sector transparency reporting group) was organized
as we now have the whole media and civil society to receive (and act on)
these complaints.

Unifying the Media


When the idea of forming a local media-citizen transparency reporting
group was first broached, people in Kidapawan were ecstatic, seeing a
revival of sorts of the old KALAMPAG. But there was a hitch.
The media in North Cotabato were fragmented by competing beliefs and
the rush for ratings. This was exacerbated by numerous media associations

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Philippine Public Transparency Reporting Project

and formations with their own agendas whose leaders also came from rival
news outfits. Many journalists chose not to join any of these organizations.

WATCH Kidapawan launches campaign against illegal collection of fees from small
vendors.

Radio announcers, on the other hand, were daily trying to out-scoop


one another for the right to claim airwave supremacy. For example,
radio station DXND claimed it was the news capital of South Central
Mindanao while its competitor, DXCA Charm Radio, tagged itself as the
Public Opinion Maker. DXND broadcasts simultaneously with DXMS in
Cotabato City and other member stations saying that it delivers the most
comprehensive and latest news. Charm Radio, simulcast with Wow Radio
in Midsayap and other member stations, said it airs the most hard-hitting
commentary and widely-participated in interactive programs. DXND
partnered with the Mindanao Cross newspaper based in Cotabato City
while Charm Radio worked in tandem with the Southern Voice Journal in
Kidapawan City.

Developing Local Media-Citizen Transparency Groups

33

There were even media practitioners who launched attacks on air against
colleagues, accusing each other of having political patrons and of being
paid hacks. Had it not been for the timely intervention of Fr. Peter
Geremiah of the Tribal Filipino Program of the Diocese of Kidapawan, the
so-called network wars could have exploded into a bitter was of attrition.
Fr. Geremiah called the media representatives to a series of meetings
where it was suggested that it will be to the publics benefit if the media will
join hands and eschew competition in bringing all their resources and talent
to bear on critical issues facing the province. To their credit, the media
agreed to the suggestion thereby ending what could have been a debilitating
and mutually destructive network war.
There is no doubt that the creation of WATCH Kidapawan brought media
closer together. Gone are the days when the competing stations put so
much weight on the exclusivity of stories. Now they share stories for wider
dissemination and stronger impact.
Ruby Padilla Sison, chair of Gabriela North Cotabato, said the unification
of the local media redounds to the benefit of the people. When we heard
Abner Francisco (of DXCA Charm Radio) being interviewed by Malu
Manar at DXND and Malu being interviewed by Abner at Charm Radio,
we were very happy for we know that they have transcended competition
and it was the people who have become their utmost priority. It was not an
issue of which station corners the wider audience, its setting the peoples
agenda above and over the corporate interest of their stations. Indeed its
journalism for the public and its the peoples victory. After all it is the
people who own the issue.

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Philippine Public Transparency Reporting Project

Forming WATCH Kidapawan


Shortly after the successful media unification talks, the Philippine Public
Transparency Reporting Project (PPTRP) through is partners Center for
Community Journalism and Development (CCJD) and National Union of
Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP), conducted survey focused group
discussions and training on transparency reporting.

WATCH Kidapawan members follow up status of corruption cases filed against public
officials in Kidapawan City.

Different civil society organization representatives and all media outfits in the
province participated in the training after which they agreed to form an anticorruption group in the province of Cotabato to be based in Kidapawan City.
In May 2010, PPTRP Director Alan Davis met with selected media
practitioners and CSO leaders to discuss data showing how rampant
corruption is in the country and the possibility of creating a local anticorruption group to address the issue.
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35

After a week, the informal group met again and decided to form the
Watchful Advocates for Transparent Clean and Honest Governance in
Kidapawan (WATCH Kidapawan).
WATCH Kidapawan is committed to work together to monitor, evaluate,
report and push for improved fiscal accountability of public funds within
the area of jurisdiction of Kidapawan City. The member organizations vowed
to help each other in accessing documents on local government finances;
assess local governments performance and accountability regarding
public funds vis--vis the actual results and impact on the people and
to generate feedback from the community regarding local government
officials compliance with anti-corruption laws; production of Budget Watch
news program or section composed of data, news and commentary on
local procurement issues; and media and public events to engage local
government officials and generate public feedback.
This writer, representing DXCA Charm Radio was elected chairperson. Other
officers elected were Prof. Vilma Gonzales of Go-Gender, secretary general
of E-Gender; Sister Lalyn Macahilo, OND, of Pagbabago Peoples Movement
for Change, finance officer; Pastor Ernesto Ramos of United Methodist
Church, auditor; Jocelyn Aquiatan of Gabriela volunteer facilitator.
WATCH Kidapawan was formally launched on June 5, 2010 simultaneously
in three competing radio stations, DXCA Charm Radio, DXND, and DXCM
Radyo Ukay.
WATCH Kidapawan member-organizations are DXCA Charm Radio,
DXND, DXCM Radyo Ukay, Southern Voice Journal, Pagbabago Peoples
Movement for Change, Mindanao Express, ICON PTS, Gabriela,
Kalampag Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP-Cotbatao), Education
Network Philippines(E-NET), Go-Gender, Network of Women, Tribal
Filipino Program Diocese of Kidapawan, Bayan Muna, Kabataan Partylist,
Apo Sandawa Lumadnong Panaghiusa, and other peoples organizations.

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Philippine Public Transparency Reporting Project

MATA-Samar
Local Mechanism for Governance
Reform
By Imelda Bonifacio

Emy Bonifacio

The formation and launch of an anti-corruption initiative in Samar was


driven by the systemic and continuing failure of the local government to
address basic development issues, especially poverty, facing the province.

Samars governor, vice governor and Congress representative all come from the same
political family.

For a very long time, Samar has been languishing in the backwaters of
development, having been consistently on the list of seven poorest provinces
in the country with three of its municipalities, Matuguinao, Daram and
Zumarraga, rated as the poorest in the region.
Its forests have been ravaged, its seas over-fished and whatever arable
lands remain have lain fallow. There are few economic activities
Developing Local Media-Citizen Transparency Groups

37

and productivity has consistently declined while unemployment and


underemployment rates remain high.
These are the more obvious results of bad governance that has been the
bane of the province. Many Samarnons believe that its resources are not
properly managed and its development agenda is not well defined. This is
exacerbated by the lack of adequate control, audit or oversight of public
spending, meaning public money is not being spent to promote the welfare
of the people of Samar.
Given this kind of situation, concerned citizens of Samar decided to
help bring it back on track by bringing the different sectors together:
government, media, business, church and civil society that eventually gave
birth to what is now known as the Multisectoral Alliance for Transparency
and Accountability in Samar (MATA-Samar).

Media, CSOs and government workers concerned with the alleged corruption in Samar
formed MATA-Samar as a collective initiative to increase public sector transparency.

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Anti-corruption efforts are not new to Samarnons. A number of


peoples and non-government organizations in the past have stood up
to protest wrongdoing in government by filing court cases against erring
public officials. But protracted litigation and perceived inaction by the
Ombudsman eventually dampened their spirits even leading some to believe
that fighting corruption was just a waste of time. Other members of the
community also were indifferent to the anti-corruption efforts by various
groups that were also hounded by financial difficulties. There was also no
formal organization to speak of.
But in a sense, Samar was lucky. It was selected as one of the four pilot
areas of the PPTRP that will be supported in developing joint initiatives of
the media, civil society and citizens to monitor and report transparency
issues relating to budge, procurement, project development including access
to information regarding government transactions.
Also for the first time in Samars continuing fight against corruption,
the media committed to make a definite stand, putting into sharper focus
their role in shaping peoples opinions on governance issues and providing
opportunities for expanding citizens voices.
The presence of the media in the advocacy campaign facilitated information
gathering and dissemination and encouraged people to freely express their
views. The media are generally considered credible by the community.

Forming an Anti-Corruption Alliance


MATA-Samars main objective is to promote greater awareness on anticorruption, transparency, and public accountability. It also aims to address
the misuse of public funds in the province through timely and factual
reporting of public spending.

Developing Local Media-Citizen Transparency Groups

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Members agreed that the group would work for participatory democracy,
responsive governance and an empowered citizenry to help achieve a
progressive and peaceful Samar. It envisions Samar to be a livable
community that is corruption free and whose quality basic services would be
accessible to everyone.
The multi-sector feature of MATA-Samar makes it easier for the group
to undertake various monitoring activities. Members complement each
other. Information dissemination campaigns are being done by media
partners such as samarnews.com. A website was also created to maximize
information sharing while social media such as FaceBook, Tweeter, and
blogs are also being harnessed.
Road monitoring and the gathering of documents for evidence are being
handled by the Alliance of Concerned Employees in Samar (ACES) that
has direct access to concerned government agencies while the Social
Action Center (SAC) focuses on member recruitment and information
dissemination at the grassroots level. Legal issues and action are referred
to the Corruption Prevention Unit (CPU) Ombudsman Samar Chapter and
the Isog han Samar, a coalition of non-government organizations.
The efforts of MATA-Samar are also being supported through a
Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) between the Department of Interior and
Local Government (DILG) and the Samar Island Partnership, an NGO to
which most MATA-Samar members belong. DILG Secretary Jesse Robredo
and the three bishops of Samar (Emmanuel Trance of Catarman, Northern
Samar; Isabelo Abarquez of Calbayog, Western Samar, and Crispin Varquez
of Borongan, Eastern Samar) signed the MOA on September 22, 2010
to encourage civil society participation in all government transactions to
ensure transparency and accountability.
MATA-Samar members agreed to focus on monitoring on-going
infrastructure projects and tracking government budget, procurement

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and delivery of social services. To accomplish this, MATA-Samar made


representations with the regional directors of the DILG, Department of
Public Works and Highways (DPWH), Commission on Audit (COA), and the
Department of Budget and Management (DBM) to seek their assistance in
addressing transparency issues.
The group would later establish and strengthen links with other agencies
and networks in government, media and civil society organizations through
training workshops and seminars on governance.

MATA-Samar officers thanks the Department of Budget and Management in a workshop in understanding the budget better.

MATA-Samar has also been officially recognized as a member of the


Millennium Challenge Account, a local monitoring project that will play
a major role in the implementation of the 222 km road network from
Barangay Buray, Paranas, Samar to Guian, Eastern Samar and the
KALAHI-CIDSS project of the social welfare department.
It was also recognized by the Corruption Prevention Unit-Ombudsman (CPUVisayas) as a partner, making it easier for the group to act on complaints.
Developing Local Media-Citizen Transparency Groups

41

Through the EVNET, a coalition of NGOs in Eastern Visayas, MATASamar has been tapped to help in the Bantay Lansangan (Road Watch)
monitoring project and it now sits in the bids and awards committee of the
DPWH as an NGO partner.
It likewise attends weekly sessions and committee hearings of the
Sangguniang Panlalawigan and disseminates session reports to the news
media. The group also attends court hearings and provides moral support
to complainants who filed cases against provincial government officials.
Currently MATA-Samar acts as secretariat to the island-wide SIPPAD
(Samar Island Partnership for Peace and Development) assemblies and
other development councils and has helped draft the six-year Development
Agenda for Samar which was presented to President Aquino.
Recently the group made it to the national papers for challenging the Full
Disclosure Act and the Prohibition of Billboards with Names and Pictures
of Politicians on Government Programs and Projects as expressed in DILG
Memorandum Circulars. It filed a test case at the Ombudsman against
officials and employees of the provincial government who have willfully
violated that particular law.
But huge challenges still remain. The group is at the receiving end of threats
and harassment. Politicians who have been the target of MATA exposs often
resorted to attacking the credibility of the members. Sometimes the attacks
come from unexpected quarters like some media colleagues who questioned
the partnership between the press and citizens groups.
By publicizing its work and opening its operations to public scrutiny,
MATA-Samar has further enhanced its credibility. It also continues to
open dialogues with media and other sectors on how to engage more
meaningfully in working for better governance in the province.

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Some Important Points to Remember When Forming Transparency


Groups

Scan the environment by peeling the layers of the


community and then identify local good governance
champions. They can come from the ranks of civil
society, government, media, academe or business.

If the news media triggers the initiative, ask tough


questions as to what the community can and is willing
to do to make government more transparent and
accountable.

Open continuing dialogues with all sectors. Agree on


a framework and develop a set of strategies.

Meetings need not be expensive. Bring your own baon


(brown bagging) sessions can result in substantive
discussions and action steps.

For media, build alliances with the competition and


look at the outcome of journalism.

For civil society and other sectors, look at media not


merely as information avenues but as community
facilitators and partners.

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three

Building Local
Capacities:
Transparency and
Anti-Corruption
Reporting Training
By Rorie Fajardo

nformative. Timely. Significant to their campaigns or news


coverage.
These were some of the feedback from participants both media
and non-media members including students and workers from
civil society in the training workshops on transparency and
anti-corruption reporting organized by the Philippine Public
Transparency Reporting Project (PPTRP).
Since its launch in March 2010, the PPTRP has conducted
through one of its four partner organizations, the National Union
of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP), a total of 22 training
activities in 12 areas across the country. These areas were selected
by the PPTRP partner organizations using a set of criteria that
includes strong presence of media and CSO community concerned
with monitoring and reporting government corruption and
transparency issues.

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Transparency and Anti-Corruption Reporting Training

45

The training series covered the following:

Julie Alipala

Luzon -- Pampanga, Legazpi City and Masbate City


Visayas Samar and Bohol
Mindanao Kidapawan City, Dipolog City, Davao City, Surigao
City, Cagayan de Oro City, Ozamiz City and Tawi-Tawi

Journalists in Tawi-Tawi take part in PPTRP training on transparency and anti-corruption reporting.

Masbate City and Tawi-Tawi were added during the second year
of the training due to requests from several members of media and
CSO community in those areas for capacity building assistance
to help them organize their own campaigns or reporting on
transparency issues related to their local governments.
Participants from Tawi-Tawi in the Autonomous Region in Muslim
Mindanao said that the PPTRP training in February 2011 was the
first time a national training was held in their area. They said that
in the past very few journalists were invited to take part in trainings

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Philippine Public Transparency Reporting Project

usually held in Mindanao urban centers like Zamboanga City and


Davao City.
In a span of 13 months since the first basic PPTRP training was
conducted (June 2010 to July 2011), PPTRP was able to train and
engage a total of 633 persons, 395 of whom were from the media
and 238 were from other sectors like CSOs, schools, church groups
and even associations of local government employees. Of the total,
252 were female and 381 male.
The training activities also became venues for the media and civil
society groups to come together to discuss and share knowledge on
basic concepts and laws on corruption and transparency, national
and local budget processes, procurement process, audit and
accountability, and safety and security protocols when investigating
sensitive corruption cases or advocating for a corruption-free public
sector. The trainings also featured workshops wherein participants
from both sectors were guided in identifying corruption issues,
challenges or obstacles in monitoring and reporting these plus
possible solutions and formulating story plans or anti-corruption
campaign plans.
The PPTRP also designed the training as a two-level approach with
the basic training on anti-corruption and transparency reporting
held during the first year of project implementation and the
advanced training organized the following year. This was done to
allow the same set of participants from media and civil society to
further enhance their transparency reporting skills while developing
partnership initiatives.
But it soon became apparent that training the same set of
participants twice over a period of two years would be challenging

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given realities on the ground. Some of the Year 1 trainees were no


longer available for the Year 2 activity as they either transferred to
another province or were working in other jobs. As a result, the
Year 2 advanced trainings were opened to those who did not attend
the basic training by adjusting the design to include fundamental
concepts on corruption and transparency.
The other challenge faced by the project was the low participation
of civil society organizations in several of the target areas. It was only
in Kidapawan City in North Cotabato and Catabalogan, Samar
that an equal mix of participants from the media and civil society
demonstrated a higher level of civic engagement. This could be
attributed mainly to their previous experience of working together
in addressing transparency issues in their respective localities.

Journalists in Dipolog City take part in PPTRP training on transparency and anticorruption reporting.

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Philippine Public Transparency Reporting Project

In Masbate and Tawi-Tawi, on the other hand, a very thin line


exists between the news media and advocates or activists with a
number considering themselves as members of both sectors.
Overall, the participants rated the PPTRP trainings at both levels
as relevant and useful to their line of work. Majority of them said
that the trainings helped them understand better and improve
the kind of reporting or campaigns they normally do. Several
journalists said they are now more or less equipped with knowledge
about laws and policies on corruption and transparency, and are
thus able to ask more critical questions of their sources, in turn
enabling them to provide their public with key information that
would allow the same public to understand how their money is
being spent by government.
In the next few pages, we have reprinted some stories originally
published in the PPTRP website to illustrate how training on
transparency and anti-corruption can help enhance reporting. The
three articles weve chosen reflect the diversity and depth of wideranging issues on public spending, local governance operations and
management, fiscal integrity and their impact on the peoples daily
lives.
We hope that by presenting these stories in this guide, journalists,
civil society members, advocates, government workers, citizens will
find cause and encouragement to report not only whats wrong, but
also whats working in their own communities.

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Learning Transparency and


Accountability Processes
The Philippine Public Transparency Reporting Project (PPTRP)
has always put premium on the need for the public to fully
understand basic laws and processes in relation to transparency and
accountability. Access to information about these issues can only
become meaningful and effective if people are able to scrutinize
such information, ask critical questions, and identify problems as
well as solutions.
Thus did the project through one of its partners, the National
Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP), design a twotiered training activity basic and advanced on transparency and
anti-corruption to address the challenge of peoples lack of access
to information and ensuring meaningful citizen participation in
governance.
The basic training focused on essential knowledge areas for beginners
in transparency and accountability work. Main topics included:
(1) Definition of concepts on corruption and transparency; (2)
Discussion on the basic laws tackling corruption, among them
Republic Act 6713 or the Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards
for Public Officials and Employees; (3) Discussion on the existing
mechanisms to address corruption such as the Ombudsman and
the Sandiganbayan (anti-graft court); (4) Discussion on important
areas where investigation, monitoring and reporting are important,
for instance reading the statements of assets and liabilities and net
worth of officials and procurement process as well as the so-called
red flags or stages where corruption is usually committed.

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Philippine Public Transparency Reporting Project

Short workshops within the training then engaged participants in


identifying constraints in monitoring and reporting public sector
corruption and some possible solutions. Many of the recurring
issues identified during these workshops were: lack of access to, and
understanding of, information on public sector transparency and
corruption; safety and security risks when reporting corruption or
campaigning against it; and, refusal of potential sources to provide
information.
Feedback from the basic training participants showed that lack
of knowledge in engaging local officials and other public servants
continues to hamper their efforts to closely examine governance
processes.
I will use my new knowledge when interviewing government
officials on alleged corruption in the province, said one journalist.
On the other hand, majority of the civil society participants believe
that such knowledge can help them with their reform campaigns.
The advanced training, administered during the projects second
year, focused more on accessing information and understanding
the local and national budgets. The budget as a story has strategic
values, said Rowena Paraan, NUJP secretary general and lead
trainer for the PPTRP training component. The budget, as
emphasized in the training, is both a governance and development
tool designed to address such issues as poverty and inequity. In
reality, however, the budget is oftentimes used as a political tool
and avenue for corruption.
The participants in the advanced training were also taught critical
aspects linked to the budget process such as powers and limitations
of the local government in fiscal administration, the national and

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51

local budget cycle, the procurement process, and specific laws and
regulations pertaining to the budgetary powers of government
officials.
The advanced training was also designed to engage the participants
from both media and civil society in identifying constraints in
monitoring and reporting budget-related issues as well as possible
solutions. Among these constraints were understanding relevant
laws; lack of transparency; difficulty in accessing documents and
sources willing to talk on record; the need to understand the sheer
volume of documents; and the fact that understanding the budget
involves math that is also a challenge to many of the participants.
In general, they agreed that continually improving their knowledge
and skills in scrutinizing the budget could provide the key in
addressing many of these constraints.

Pre- and post-training diagnostics


The PPTRP trainings also used simple diagnostics before and after
the training to measure skills and knowledge levels and the effect of
the training in enhancing these.
Two sets of diagnostic tests were prepared: a 10-question test for the
basic training and a seven-question test for the advanced training
(see boxed sidebars)
The pre-training test results indicated that participants have limited
knowledge on specific laws on transparency and corruption in the
Philippines, agencies concerned in ensuring accountability, as well
as the powers and limitations of government officials and employees
in key areas like budget authorization and execution.

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Philippine Public Transparency Reporting Project

Test scores after the training proper in both levels showed a


general improvement in the participants knowledge on the issues
discussed with some of them posting perfect scores after the oneday training.

Diagnostic Test Questions

Year 1 Training: Basic Transparency and


Anti-Corruption Reporting
1. What law defines the conduct of public officials?
2. What do you call the document that contains the
income of a public official, amounts of his and his
familys expenses, and the taxes he paid for the preceding
year?
3. What law requires public officials to submit sworn
statements on their total assets every year?
4. What government body is tasked to investigate and
prosecute corruption cases?
5. If you want to get the tax record of Mayor Rodrigo
Duterte of Davao City, where can you get it?
6. What do you call the form of investigation that looks
at an officials declared income and compares it with his
actual net worth, sources of wealth and way of living?
7. What term refers to situations wherein a public officials
performance of his duty is affected by his personal
interest?
8. What do you call the crime wherein a public official, in
a series of criminal acts, amasses more than P50 million
in illegally acquired wealth?

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9. In a local government unit, which body has the power


to allocate funds?
10. Fill in the blank: A public office is a public _____.
Answers: (1) Republic Act 6713 or the Code of Conduct
and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees; (2)
Statement of Assets, Liabilities and Net Worth; (3) Republic
Act 3019, Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act; (4) Office
of the Ombudsman; (5) Bureau of Internal Revenue/Tax
Assessors Office; (6) Lifestyle check; (7) Conflict of interest;
(8) Plunder; (9) Sangguniang Panlalawigan or Sangguniang
Panglunsod; (10) Trust

Diagnostic Test Questions

Year 2 Training: Advanced Transparency


and Anti-Corruption Reporting
Numeracy for Journalists, CSO Workers
and Citizens
1. What law paved the way for greater local autonomy?
2. Which of the following can a mayor not do?
a. Propose an annual budget
b. Hire and fire city employees
c. Secure financial grants on his own
3. How many members does your provincial board have?
4. Fill in the blanks: Every year, the proposed budget for
next year must be submitted by what date? (Give the
exact date.)

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Philippine Public Transparency Reporting Project

5. In an LGU, what government body approves the


budget? ____. What body proposes? ________
6. Which committee conducts hearings on the proposed
budget? Who is the head of this committee in this city/
municipality?
7. What do you call the share of local government units in
the national internal revenue taxes?
Answers: (1) Local Government Code of 1991; (2) C. Secure
financial grants on his own; (3) 13 ; (4) October 16 of every
year; (5) legislative body and executive body; (6) Committee
on Appropriations; (7) Internal Revenue Allotment
Prepared by the National Union of Journalists of the
Philippines as one of four PPTRP partners

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A fairly good understanding and appreciation of governance


processes such as the annual budget make for a well-crafted
report or story that removes technical jargon, unravels complex
steps, explains hidden nuances, and generally tells how and why
things happen as they do.
Here is a good example of how the budget process is explained
that will help journalists and citizens in undertaking transparency
reporting initiatives.

Anatomy of the Annual Budget


Jes Aznar

By Claire Delfin

The Philippine Congress is said to hold the power of the purse.

The annual national budget is said to be the most powerful


public articulation of the governments policy. It lays out the

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Philippine Public Transparency Reporting Project

governments course of actions for the country for that year.


And as pundits would say it, the budget is the development
policy expressed in peso terms.

The budget, after all, is the engine, the prime mover. Without
it, any development plan cannot set into motion. Thus, given
the magnitude of its importance, no less than the Constitution
specifically provides that the budget proposed by the Executive
must go through an exhaustive check in Congress before it is
approved.

In theory, the Congress, being composed of the peoples


representatives, goes through the process of holding public
hearings and discussions on various aspects of the budget each
year. Every item is scrutinized and heads of various departments
and agencies are meticulously questioned to ensure that the
proposed budgets are justified.

But in practice, studies and fiscal experts claim, Congress has


practically abdicated the power of the purse to the executive
branch.

A United Nations-financed study shows that Congress has


failed to scrutinize the annual national budget thoroughly and
in the process, has in fact, facilitated corruption.

Congress is given four months to debate the budget. But,


more often than not, debatesparticularly in the House of
Representativesdeal not with policy but rather parochial
concerns, said the 2008/2009 Philippine Human Development
Report.

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Social Watch Philippines (SWP) sees the same observation.


SWP is a nongovernmental group pushing for national budget
reforms in Congress. It leads the Alternative Budget Initiative
(ABI), a campaign involving 60 NGOs which has been trying
to monitor the budget process in the legislature since 1996.

It says the countrys annual budget process is so lacking in


transparency and oversight it effectively helps to ensure huge
amounts of public money is lost through corruption and
mismanagement.

Budget process
The budget cycle is a long process that for the most part
is hidden from public view: Given the space and time it
subsequently devotes to covering alleged financial scandals,
the media has shown surprisingly little interest in scrutinizing
it in any serious way.

Budget preparation runs from January to July when the


administration engages in vigorous planning and debate
with the different government agencies.

The President determines the allocation and those who are


close to the president get a better deal, says SWP co-convenor
Leonor Magtolis-Briones, former national treasurer.

While agencies are free to propose their own budgets,


it is the chief executive who calls the shots. Usually, this
depends on the Presidents priority programs for the year,
the expected revenue targets, and amount of debt the
government can source out to fund the budget.

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Philippine Public Transparency Reporting Project

The authorization stage of the budgetary process for the


following year runs from August to December when it is
presented to and piloted through Congress. This stage is
also called the budget legislation.

Under the Constitution, Congress is given the power of the


purse. In reality however, only a few legislators scrutinize
the entire budget. It has been widely observed that the
Arroyo administration has a very compliant Congress with
the majority of members allied to the President.

To all extent and purposes therefore, from a practical point


of view, by the time it reaches Congress, the real work has
been done and only amendments are made.

As long as they get their pork barrel, theyre okay. They


dont look at the total picture. The result is a blank check
for Malacaang, claims Magtolis-Briones.

Only the chairs of the Senate committee on finance and


of the House appropriations committee meet regularly to
discuss the budget, she says. There are no minutes of these
meetings. As a result, serious mistakes are sometimes made
like that of the controversial C-5 Road project, which
was reportedly twice awarded PhP 200 million (USD 4.5
million) within the 2008 budget.

According to the late budget secretary Emilia Boncodin,


such serious mistakes are due to a weak oversight process of
the legislative branch.

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In her presentation on the vulnerabilities of public financial


management system of the Philippines in May last year at
the University of the Philippines, she said oversight process
by legislative committees only come to life when there are
reactive investigations in aid of legislation. Other than this,
its practically dead.
There is also no dedicated oversight over intelligence
and confidential funds. And regular reports submitted to
Congress by different agencies are generally ignored as
there is no unit that analyzes these reports, Boncodin had
claimed.

January to December is the budget execution stage when


the budget for that year should have already been approved,
released and used as appropriated by Congress.

The accountability stage is supposed to run concurrently


and yet it is often disregarded because by then the agencies
are busy preparing for the new budget: So the budget cycle
starts all over again.

The budget calendar often gets disrupted by delays in the


passage of the current year budget. From 2001 to 2010,
the enactment of the General Appropriations Act (GAA)
was delayed seven times. The non-implementation or delay
in implementation of projects results in service disruption.
And when this happens, the budget laws give the sitting
president a wide discretion in terms of realignment of
budget savings.

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Budget pie

As said earlier, the budget primarily depends on the


Presidents priority programs for the year. In 2008, the
budget was about sustaining economic momentum,
according to Malacaang. This came as the Philippines
posted a gross domestic product growth rate of 7.3 percent
a year earlier, making the country one of the fastest-growing
economies in Asia.

The budget was consequently strong in investments for


infrastructure, education, health, housing, as well as for
science and technology.

In 2009, the budget was meant to cover an economic


resiliency program in the midst of a global economic crisis
that was raging through the most developed economies of
the world. So a special purpose fund for economic stimulus
worth PhP 10.07 billion (USD 227 million) was included
in the budget. This is on top of the increased allocations
granted to the departments of public works and highways,
agriculture, and the social welfare and development.

And in 2010, the budget, according to Malacaang, is


aimed to leave a legacy of hope and promise of a better
future by an outgoing president. So, the Department of
Education is given the highest allocation among other
agencies.

But the annual national budgets (Please see attached list of


annual budgets 2008-2010) show that the highest allocation

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Jes Aznar

actually goes to debt service-interest payment. Its more


than 70 percent higher than the budget for education for
2010.

Put together, the budgets for the different executive


departments and offices comprise the major share of the
budget pie. These include the budgets for the offices of the
President and the Vice President.

For the Office of the President, year 2010 gets an additional


PhP 1 million (USD 22,727) confidential and intelligence
funds provided for the National Telecommunications
Commission. This makes a total of PhP 651 million (USD
15 million) intelligence and confidential funds that should
be released only upon the Presidents approval. PhP 500
million (USD 11 million) goes to the Philippine Anti-

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Organized Crime Commission and PhP 150 million (USD


3 million) is for the Presidents general administration and
support services.

Allocation for Congress, including the House of


Representatives, doubled since 2009. This is on top of
the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) that
goes straight to each senator or representative. The PDAF
has consistently grown higher as the national budget goes
bigger.

Except for the Commission on Elections budget, which


has doubled this year due to the conduct of the first
automated national elections in May, the allocation for the
judiciary and all other independent offices in government
has practically remained unchanged for the last two or
three years.

The annual budgets are also a showcase of lump sum


appropriations for special purposes, known as Special
Purpose Funds (SPF). The SPF, for fiscal analysts, is the
much more consequential instrument in the national
budget. These are lump-sum appropriations governed by
special provisions and their release is subject to presidential
discretion.

Next to debt-servicing, Unprogrammed Fund gets the


highest allocation in the SPFs. For 2010, it has a budget
four times higher than the health department. PDAF,
calamity and contingent funds are also part of these SPFs.

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There are also special budgets that are earmarked funds


specifically provided by law like the Modernization Fund
of the Armed Forces of the Philippines.

Its the beef

In theory, these SPFs are an effective tool to cover contingencies


and provide flexibility in operations. But in practice, these
special budgets suffer from general lack of transparency and
abuse of discretion.

The beef has always been that SPFs, being lumpsum


rather than line budgeted items, are less transparent and are
one of the main faults why a national budget can become less
effective, less ethical and less equitable, according to Zoilo
Dejaresco III, financial adviser of the Philippine Center for
National Budget Legislation.

From 2002 to 2008, the trend in the administration was


to increase the amount that came under the category SPFs.

According to Bukidnon Rep. Teofisto Guingona III, last


year, the World Bank stepped in to criticize the practice,
so the percentage of funds allocated under SPFs decreased.

The World Bank intervened and told the Philippines to


reform. The government listened for it is beholden to the
World Bank. Its where we get our loans, says Guingona.
But it isnt for long. This year, its back to its old habits.

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Unprogrammed funds

Jes Aznar

The most glaring are the Unprogrammed Funds, which hit


a record high PhP 119 billion (USD 2.7 billion) this year,
representing a hefty hike from only PhP 76 billion (USD
1.7 billion) in 2009 when the World Bank supposedly
intervened. In 2008, its budget was PhP 115 billion (USD
2.6 billion).

Pork barrel funds are often used for political patronage, resulting in ghost projects and
unfinished roads like this one in Sultan Kudarat.

Unprogrammed Funds are standby appropriations which


authorize additional agency expenditures for priority
programs and projects in excess of the original budget. And
like everything inside SPF, these funds require presidential
approval.

For Dejaresco, these funds sit within the questionable


SPF allocations. What makes it more controversial

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is the Contingency Funds, which are separate from


Unprogrammed Funds. PhP 800 million (USD 18 million)
is available in this Fund for 2010.

Pork barrel

With SPF being the beef, the PDAF is just it the pork.

More commonly known as pork barrel, PDAF is widely


seen as an old style fiscal instrument still employed in the
budget that helps to foster continuing graft and corruption.

Every year, members of the House of Representatives receive


a PDAF worth PhP 70 million (USD 1.6 million) each.
A senator meantime receives PhP 200 million (USD 4.5
million). The money is for wholly discretionary spending.

As the name suggests, the PDAF is intended for priority


development projects such as clean water, education and
health care, and poverty alleviation. However, many
legislators end up spending their allocations on trivial
projects like waiting sheds or basketball courts.

Trivial or worthy, the use of pork barrel funds allows ample


opportunities to defraud the state by irregular contracting
procedures; by inflating prices or by agreeing and securing
kick-backs where the winning contractor will illegally
return a percentage of the funds paid out.

Yet according to Guingona, the countrys pork barrel is


merely the tip of one enormous problem as it represents
around one percent of the entire national budget.

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Re-enacted budget

Keith Bacongco

Even if a noncompliant Congress rejects the budget, the


President is allowed a veto. And in the event no budget is
approved, the administration can, under the Constitution,
reenact re-spend- the preceding national budget.

A road project in Davao supported by the former presidents funds.

At the end of the day, it remains the Presidents budget.


And a reenacted budget favors the chief executive even
more than one that is approved.

A reenacted budget is like getting away with murder, says


Guingona.

Apart from the fact that a reenacted budget no longer


conforms to the cost of goods and services of the current
year, it also leaves new projects unfunded.

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In cases of those projects that have already been funded


the previous year, it means the allocated funds appear
automatically as savings. Yet these savings are not necessarily
channeled back to the national treasury. The sitting
president is instead allowed to use these savings to fund
things which may not be identified in the national budget.
This can be done without first securing Congressional
approval.

Since President Arroyo stepped into office in 2001, there


has not been a single year that her administration did not
operate on a reenacted budget for at least part of the time.
For seven years -including 2010- the government operated
on a reenacted budget for up to four months of each
year. The three other years -- 2001, 2004 and 2006 -- the
government used a reenacted budget for the entire fiscal
year.

For Rep. Guingona, a reenacted budget is a badge of


shame for lawmakers. Given the many working hours, its
a shame that they are not able to pass a very important
legislation, the General Appropriations Act, he says.

But this is purposely done. Its with a sinister purpose, and


not out of laziness, claims Guingona.

2001 was when then-president Joseph Estrada was ousted


from power and Vice President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo
took over. 2004 was an election year. It was the same year
when Arroyo ran for the presidency and was declared
winner, but not without subsequently facing impeachment
claims and charges that she was responsible for engineering

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Jes Aznar

a massive electoral fraud. 2006 started the campaign season


for the 2007 elections.

You can only guess where the savings of the reenacted


budget went, claims Guingona.

The term of then president Gloria Macapagal Arroyo was marked by repeated reenactment of the national budget and alleged lack of transparency and accountability
on the use of funds.

Impounded budget

Alongside the re-enactment of budget, impoundment is


another common practice that can be used as a mechanism
to funnel funds into savings, all for presidential use.

Impoundment is the refusal of the chief executive to release


and spend funds that have already been appropriated.

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Angel Carballo

Typically, when the phrase savings, are mentioned, it is not


so much about funds that have been managed so effectively
that there remains money left over but that the money has
not actually been released to pay for what was intended.

In 2008, according to SWP, the Arroyo administration


registered an all-time high over-all savings of PhP 140
billion (USD 3.18 billion) from impounded funds. It
dislodges from the spot the year 2007 when pooled savings
amounted to PhP 106.11 billion) (USD 2.41 billion).

Special purpose funds and savings should have been wisely used to increase calamity

funds.

President Arroyo transferred PhP 178 billion (USD 4


billion) from different agencies to overall savings. On the
other hand, a total of PhP 38 billion (USD 864 million)
was transferred from Overall Savings to different agencies.
This resulted to a net transfer of PhP 140 billion (USD 3.18

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billion), which are recorded as Unreleased Appropriations.


Presumably, this amount is carried over to 2009, MagtolisBriones says in a press statement.

She adds, instead of a supplemental budget that would


only increase the countrys deficit, Malacaang should have
used the remaining balances in the SPFs and accumulated
savings which are handled by the Office of the President
through the Department of Budget and Management to
increase the calamity fund in 2009 amidst disasters hitting
the country.

Per ABIs data, the impounded funds from the 2008


budget include those for health and agriculture programs.
These are the PhP 1.8 billion (USD 41 million) for family
health program, PhP 400 million (USD 9 million) for the
tuberculosis program, PhP 100 million (USD 2.3 million)
for purchase of autoclaves (machinery for sterilization in
public hospitals), PhP 100 million (USD 2.3 million) for
the promotion of organic agriculture, and PhP 2 million
(USD 45,454) for the small farmers training on system of
rice intensification.

From the 2009 budget, environmental programs are among


the casualty. These include the PhP 95 million (USD 2.16
million) for protected areas and wildlife management and
PhP 1 billion (USD 22.7 million) for reforestation.

Once impounded as forced savings, congressional


initiative allocations may never see the light of day or
the impounded amounts constitute an off-budget new
lump sum, which can be used by the Executive to fund

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projects which may not even find anchorage in the


General Appropriations Act, says Rep. Edcel Lagman,
vice chairman of the Committee on Appropriations, in his
sponsorship speech during the plenary debates on the 2010
national budget.

Monitoring

SWP calls on congressmen and senators to fully exercise


their power of the purse over the 2010 national budget by
supporting monitoring of public funds by impartial civil
society groups.

It is within times of economic crises and national elections.


This means more work for Senators and Congressmen
to ensure that the budget is actually released to the most
vulnerable sectors of society, Magtolis-Briones says.

This is a crucial fiscal year as diversion of public funds is


rampant during election period, she adds.

But its not just a problem of a lack or an absence of


monitoring. Much of the problem is also about accounting
and audit.

In terms of accounting, there is no agency performing


controllership function that will oversee the implementation
of budgeting, internal control, accounting and auditing
rules, including the preparation of financial statements and
actual results of operations by the government.

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Government accounting system is not fully computerized


and integrated; manual accounting still exist, creating
difficulties and delays in expenditure tracking.

The financial reporting system is also weak. The annual


report from the Commission on Audit is either delayed
or incomplete. And it is not available during the Budget
Preparation period. Thus, its audit opinions are generally
ignored or have no impact on agency operations.

Faulty budget process

Cesar Usapdin

The supreme audit institution has a major role in promoting transparency.

The faulty budget process originated from budgetary laws


passed during the years of martial law which have not yet
been repealed. It is based on a decree by the dictatorial
regime of President Ferdinand Marcos.

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The constitution mandates the President to veto specific


items in the budget bill created by the Senate and House of
Representatives. On the implementation of the approved
budget, the President can transfer items as deemed
necessary.

And so this budget process has benefited not just President


Arroyo, but all the presidents starting with Marcos.

It is this kind of system -- no check and balance -- that


experts say, breeds corruption, monopoly and tax evasion
and hampers the governments efforts to attain pro-poor
targets.

Budget reform bills have been filed in Congress, but none


have yet been passed. The bills include those aiming to
prohibit unprogrammed funds, bills providing guidelines
for reenacted budgets and for national budget savings. There
are also bills seeking transparency in bicameral meetings
as well as a bill that pushes for peoples participation in
budget deliberations.

Ownership of the budget must be returned to the people


by enabling them to take part in the budget process, says
Magtolis-Briones.

But since these bills are expected to clip the powers of the
President, and as majority in Congress are allies of the
incumbent chief executive, advocates of reform do not
hold out much hope of seeing any change before President
Arroyos term expires.

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But from the sounds of it, those vying to replace her do


not appear to be impatient to challenge a process that
encourages massive waste and corruption.

One reason of course may be the huge power of patronage


it provides the lucky incumbent. And so all the more that
the civil society, the legislators, and even the media should
work together so that when the next administration comes,
third party monitoring will finally be institutionalized.
After all, poverty alleviation rests upon how the national
budget is crafted and implemented.

Stories need not always be about big-ticket items and grand


corruption. This one about poor delivery of basic services and its
impact on peoples daily lives will always connect with readers. At
times, it can also trigger demand for better governance.

Off the Performance Track


By Rick Flores

MARAWI CITY -- It is 7 a.m. and a dozen heavily armed


members of the Philippine National Police (PNP) man a
checkpoint that marks the boundary between Balindong and
Ganassi municipalities.

We are always on red alert here especially after the ambush


and killing of a mayor, says the young Maranao police officer
assigned at the police headquarters in Langcap, Marawi. We
need to elect new leaders, we need to have change, he adds.

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Rick Flores

Here in Ganassi, change appears badly needed.

Roads are worn down while health centers provide shelter


to domestic animals. School buildings are mostly old except
for a few new two-classroom types which have been built by
international donor agencies.

Instead of improving roads which would help ensure economic activities and safety of
its people, the Sultan Kudarat local government prioritizes building multi-purpose
buildings.

Ganassis internal revenue allotment (IRA) for 2009 was pegged


at PhP 50,158,451 (USD 1.16 million) - higher than most of
Lanao del Surs 39 municipalities. Lumbaca-Unayan meantime
received the smallest just PhP 25,393,471 (USD 590,545).

Even so, while the local government of Ganassi provides basic


services of sorts to the population of 19,000, the municipality
has still to provide potable water on tap to all residents.

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Last year, our municipality was allocated PhP 20 million


(USD 465,116) by former President Gloria Arroyo for the
construction of a water system, Nosrodin Saripoden says
pointing to a site for the proposed project. The construction
has started and we still have to see if it will be completed, says
the 47-year old resident of Macabao, one of the 32 barangays
in Ganassi.

Absence of performance monitoring systems

It was mid-day amid the glittering sun where 60 young preschool children marched towards a simple stage of Sultan
Aguam Central Elementary School to formally receive their
certificates from an assistant division school superintendent
of the Department of Education (DepEd) for completing the
mandatory eight-week early childhood education (ECE).

Before proceeding to the stage, five-year old Ashema Abdulmalic


asks her mother: Inakulay, inu madakul a taw emanto?
(Mother, why are there so many people?) Her mother replies:
Because today is a special day. Today is your graduation.

Clad in white and yellow togas, the children belong to the fifth
batch of the ECE program implemented by local NGO Lyecap
with funding support from a donor agency.

Abdulgaphor Panimbang, Lyecap executive director, laments


the lack of support for the education sector in this town. The
mere fact that we had to accept 60 young learners over and above
our capacity is proof of the seeming disregard for the education
sector, he told the Philippine Public Transparency Reporting
Project.

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The local government unit should have invested more for


basic education but it is cash-strapped and can barely sustain
the salaries for ECE teachers, Panimbang complains.

No data

Rick Flores

Surprisingly, given the refocusing and strengthening of local


government unit performance measurement attempts in
the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM)
where the poorest of the poor live, no formal accountability
measures are in place. Last October, ARMM officials received
Local Governance Performance Management System
(LGPMS) training from the Department of Interior and Local
Government (DILG).

The people need to be consulted to come up with responsive local development plans.

LGPMS is an on-line system set up by DILG to fast-track


monitoring of the progress of LGUs to encourage transparency.

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It aims to provide transparency and accountability measures of


LGUS vis--vis in achieving their targeted local development
plans and fiscal management.

Yet a look into in to the LGPMS website shows no data from


Lanao del Sur.

Dr. Nordina Sarip, assistant schools division superintendent of


Lanao del Sur II-B in Ganassi says nevertheless, the municipality
is observing transparent processes especially in the building of
the two-classroom learning centers.

It has been proven we can provide facilities for young


learners without wastage caused by kickbacks and red tape in
procurement, says Sarip.

But for one Muslina Osop, a young pre-school teacher, more


money should be spent on basic education.

The literacy rate in our municipality is very low and our children
barely finish their elementary education, he said. The ECE is
special for our children here because they need not go far, their
parents need not spend much, and the community need not
worry much because slowly many of us are learning to read and
write.

Panimbang added that local government still lacked support


from government agencies to help it improve its fiscal
management and economic performance.

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Investing in human resources clich

Things are different though in Lumbatan, Lanao del Sur, a fifth


class municipality nestled above the famous Lake Lanao.

Home to more than 18,000 people, this place speaks of contrasts:


a modern two-storey building for high school students and the
recently inaugurated learning center which provides free preschool education for young learners and alternative learning
procedures for parents and the rest of the community.

As in Ganassi, there are no paved roads leading to this interior


municipality and one high school in Macadar that serves
students coming from its 20 barangays: Yet the mayor here is
bent on improving this sleepy town by pouring more budget
in education.

Inshallah, we can become a model where our children and


adults, as well as parents, shall learn to read, to write, and look
for income generating opportunities that shall become our
basis for development, Mayor Mamintal Razuman says.

Education, according to him, is his top priority.

As mayor, I accept full responsibility in sustaining this initiative


because I firmly believe that it is only through basic education
that we can uplift the intellectual being of our children. We
shall mutually manage these facilities together with DepEd and
the local government officials and the community.

Yet ironically, except for the new high school building and
a learning center, there are no indication of infrastructure

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Keith Bacongco

improvement in the school complex: Some 2,000 children


share a common toilet. In 2009, Lumbatan received a total
of PhP 40,141,478 (USD 933,522) for its IRA. Where this
money went though remains a question since Lumbatan, like
Ganassi and the rest of the Lanao del Sur municipalities have
published no data on budget management, disbursement,
procurement processes or performance indicators.

Local governments are urged to spend more money on basic education and and be
transparent about it.

Under DepEds Allocation of School Infrastructure in 2009


which amounted to more than PhP 1 billion (USD 23 million),
ARMM received its share of PhP 44,769,991 (USD 1 million)
for the purchase of school chairs and tables. Of these, Lanao del
Sur was allocated PhP 7,959,072 (USD 185,094) more than
enough to provide decent and comfortable learning facilities
for students. Yet, only a handful of modern chairs were visible
at the Macadar Central Elementary School.

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Banking on access roads

Because of bad road conditions, the local government is also


focusing on paving more and better interior roads as shown
by the presence of a 24-hour work team near the poblacion. The
adjacent municipality is Lumbayanague whose young mayor,
Jamal Asum, is an epitome of a new breed of politician in an
areas which has long been known for its clan feuds or ridos.

Mayor Asum has only been five months in office and local
residents say they have yet to see if the young mayor can deliver.

Speaking on condition of anonymity, a teacher claimed that


previous leaders did not live in the area but in Iligan City. Our
government has been run and managed by messengers of our
mayor who come here and then to visit and then report to
them, confided the teacher.

Going back to Marawi City from Lumbatan, Panimbang


stressed the need for local government units to improve their
performance. We know that in Lanao del Sur, people are
basically poor and have no access to government services,
we are still hoping that our leaders will make good of their
promises, says Panimbang.

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While it is necessary to report what is wrong it is also important


to write about what is working to give people a sense that not
everything is hopeless and that they can do something about
the problems that beset them. This story examines how a city
encouraged citizen participation in making the local government
more transparent and accountable and showed how it can also
build political capital in the long run.

Putting People Power to Work in


Naga City
Jose Collera

By Alec Santos

Naga City government selects and trains young leaders every summer on how to run
City government affairs in an honest, transparent and effective way.

Located in the central part of the countrys Bicol region, Naga


City in Camarines Sur lacks viable industries and abundant
natural resources. But these deficiencies are compensated by a
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participatory and accountable system of local government that


makes people here count their blessings.

While the city has been in existence even before the arrival of
the Spaniards in the 16th century, it has largely remained a base
for religious and colonial expeditions. Its strategic location,
while favorable as a trading hub, did not give Naga a chance to
become a major magnet for investments.

After the downfall of the Marcos administration in 1986,


however, Naga seemingly awoke from being a sleepy and
backward city into a boomtown. In 1988, a political newcomer,
29-year-old business executive Jesse Robredo became the city
mayor by a narrow margin.

Riding on the principles of change, hope and People Power,


Robredo sought to change the image of Naga from a lowly city
into one of the regions best. He lacked natural resources but
what he did have were people.

Naga City Peoples Council

One of the mayors early accomplishments was the creation


of the Naga City Peoples Council (NCPC), which was made
easier by the enactment of the Local Government Code of
1991.

Drawing inspiration from the return of democracy to the


Philippines during the 1986 People Power Revolution, the
city government enacted legislative and executive measures to
institutionalize sweeping changes allowed by the law.

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Jose Collera

The NCPC is a federation of non-government organizations


and peoples organizations in the city. Its members are
represented up to the committee level of the city council. Until
1996, the NCPC acted as the civil sectors representation to
the local government. Yet without formal acknowledgment
from the city government, its recommendations were not given
much weight.

The Naga City government works closely with persons with disabilities to make sure
their rights are recognized and protected.

All that changed when then city councilor Jaime Jacob authored
the Empowerment Ordinance in 1996, giving the NCPC the
power to directly influence the policies of the local government.
The same legislative measure also institutionalized the active
participation of NGOs and peoples organizations in the city,
making them independent of the city government.

The Empowerment Ordinance also established the creation


of sectoral representation positions in the city council.

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Representatives from the non-agricultural, women, and urban


poor sectors were also elected to function as city councilors,
exercise the same powers and responsibilities, and enjoy the
same rights and privileges as ordinary city council members.

One of many consequences is that NCPC representatives take


part in hearings and consultations where the city government
opens the budget for programs for the following year.

At present, more than a hundred groups comprise the NCPC.


Member-groups from the urban poor, agriculture, transport,
youth, women, and the elderly sectors are given the freedom
and the opportunity to express their concerns as well as
participate in the creation and monitoring of key legislations,
programs, and services aimed to help their particular sectors.

The representation of previously unrepresented sectors has


made it possible for various groups to air grievances or request
assistance in the development of their sectors.

The resulting union of civil society and city government policies


has led to key measures favorable to different sectors. One such
instance in which the will of the civil society was heeded over
the local officials judgment was the proposed construction of
a golf course in upland Naga in 1997. City officials believed
that the presence of a golf course would help spur economic
growth in some of Nagas far-flung barangays on the slopes of
Mt. Isarog. However strong concern over water shortages and
the misuse of arable land led NGOs and POs to oppose and
block the plans.

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NGOs and POs can also request financial and logistical


assistance from the city government to implement their
own projects and programs. To avail of the citys assistance,
member-groups of civil society have to be accredited by the
city government. Upon accreditation, they can then request
the executive branch for funding assistance, provided that the
legislative department approves of the request.

The city government, as a policy, however, refrains from


shouldering the total costs incurred by civil society
organizations. Partnerships and close cooperation between the
government and NGOs is espoused but financial assistance is
given on a case-to-case basis, with the local government usually
shouldering only a portion of project costs, depending on the
benefits such projects can give to the city and its constituents.

When the need arises, representatives from the NCPC are also
convened so they can actively participate in decision-making,
said city budget officer Francisco Mendoza.

In the process, the daily grind in the city hall is opened up to the
public. The result is what we call transparency in governance.
The people get to know how we do it, how we can do it, and
how much we have, said outgoing mayor Jesse Robredo.

Robredo, however, said that transparency is just a by-product


of the participation of the NCPC in city affairs.

Its not transparency for the sake of transparency. What


becomes more important is how the process engages the people
to participate in governing the city, which results to better
outcomes, he said.

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Jose Collera

Mendoza admitted that the participation of the NCPC in city


hall affairs at times results in extended implementation of city
government programs. But its a welcome extension. After all,
better results always follow when everyone participates.

The participation of the NCPC in city hall affairs had not been
free from criticisms however.

Naga Citys blood donation program.

Father Wilmer Joseph Tria, priest from the archdiocese of


Caceres, said the NCPC, really, had not been a watchdog
of government and had not been independent from the
government. He said it had neither operated on its own nor
freed itself from the grip and influence of politicians.

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i-Governance

One would think that allowing members of the civil sector to


meddle in city affairs would have disastrous consequences. But
the opposite is true in Naga. In fact, many of the citys awardwinning programs and projects came about because of direct
consultation with the NCPC and other NGOs and POs.

For instance, the creation of the NCPC and the rapid onset of
technology, particularly the internet, gave birth to the idea of
i-Governance.

Six years after the Empowerment Ordinance came into place,


another landmark legislation paved the way for the i-Governance
program. According to the author of the ordinance, councilor
Mila Raquid-Arroyo, i-Governance would serve as a mechanism
for people participation that would ensure transparency in
government.

The program is anchored on several pillars that guide its


implementation. The first principle, inclusive governance,
basically calls for the inclusion of all citizens and sectors in
running the city government without excluding stakeholders.

Information openness, better known as transparency, is


required of government officials and transactions. This would
give citizens the opportunity to see the inner workings of their
government and encourage them to be vigilant.

Interactive management aims to include people not only in


the implementation of government projects but also in the

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conceptualization, monitoring and even evaluation of said


projects.

Finally, innovative management seeks to make use of new ways


to improve management of government resources to promote
people participation and transparency.

The brainchild of technocrats whom Robredo brought in to


the city government during his three terms, the i-Governance
was initially planned to make use of all means to achieve
transparency in governance.

While the i-Governance program may appear to be the ideal


style of local governance, it is far from being perfect. At the
conceptual and theoretical level, the program covers all
bases ranging from service delivery to assessment but on the
operational level, it leaves a lot to be desired.

On the operational level, the i-Governance relies on the city


governments website for its transparency promotion. However,
the local government has also resorted to a more traditional
way of encouraging citizens to participate in government affairs
through the publication of the Naga City Citizens Charter.

Naga City website

A decade after Robredo stepped into office, the city once again
broke barriers by introducing an innovation: developing and
maintaining its own official website. This made Naga as one
of the first Philippine cities to promote transparency in local
government work through a website.

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Philippine Public Transparency Reporting Project

Alec Santos

The Naga City website provides the public access to government


documents and services that would normally take days to find.
Budget plans, legislative documents, and even statistics were
automatically uploaded in the website and organized for faster
access.

The city government website immediately became a hit and for


several months and even years after its launching, thousands of
citizens and even Filipino expatriates flocked to the new portal.
A community forum also gave people the chance to exchange
views and opinions regarding city issues.

Naga Citys education program.

Bids and status of projects can also be viewed online through


the website, making it much easier for citizens to see where
city resources are spent. The website is a snapshot of the city
government, all its branches and its offices doing their part.

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However, the website also has its flaws, too. While the city
government banks on the websites features to promote
transparency, data and information available on the portal is
totally dependent on whatever government personnel upload.
This means that the city government can choose to exclude any
data uploaded to the website.

This oversight, while, not intentional, leaves a gap that prevents


the public from accessing all documents and data available to
the city government. Without any way of verifying information
uploaded to the website, people are left to trust whatever figures
or data the local government supplies. This can cast doubt over
the supposed transparent practices of the city.

Despite its shortcomings, the city website continually provides


constituents the chance to air their complaints directly to the
chief executive. Citizens afraid of approaching the city mayor
can directly send their messages and complaints via email.
During the early years of the i-Governance program, the city
also relied on TXTNaga to encourage citizens to voice out
their sentiments regarding government action. In recent years
however, the number of people making use of this service
has declined sharply. At present, TXTNaga is undergoing an
overhaul.

Citizens Charter

Three years after the launching of the city government website


and five years after the enactment of the Empowerment
Ordinance, Naga institutionalized its Citizens Charter.

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Philippine Public Transparency Reporting Project

Alec Santos

The Charter is basically a handbook of government services and


a catalogue of key offices and personnel. The first of its kind in
the Philippines, the Charter makes use of corporate management
styles introduced by Robredo during his first three terms as city
mayor.

The Naga City local government engages ordinary citizens to take part in its programs.

However, the Citizens Charter is only the product of constant


evolution of government policies. Even before its introduction
and printing, city hall employees and department heads were
required to sign performance pledges detailing their specific
duties and corresponding length of time needed or allowed
to respond to requests from the public. This meant that even
before citizens entered offices, they would know the services
offered as well as the response times.

The office and department heads of the city government


renew their performance pledges every three years as a sign

Building Local Capacities:


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of their commitment to the citys adherence to transparency


and accountability. City employees assigned to attend to the
specific needs and requests of constituents also affix their
signatures on these pledges to ensure that they comply with the
city governments commitment.

By institutionalizing the concept of a well-organized and


structured system to serve the needs of the constituency, the
city government has, in effect paved the way for the reduction,
if not the total elimination of excessive bureaucracy and red
tape.

As with the website, however, the Citizens Charter and


performance pledges are not fool-proof. Closer inspection of
these innovations shows that during the start of these programs,
enthusiasm is high resulting in good implementation. As years
pass by, however, complacency often sets in.

While the city government has printed three editions of the


Citizens Charter and has distributed at least one copy per
household, much work needs t be done to ensure perfect
delivery of government services. Many constituents agree
that most government offices in the city hall comply with the
performance pledges. However, there has been no initiative to
check whether employees are indeed complying.

The lack of a quantitative mechanism to assess the services


delivered by city employees can create an impression that some
innovations of Naga may very well just be on paper.

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Philippine Public Transparency Reporting Project

Even so, dozens of local government units have sent delegations


to the city as part of efforts to develop their own citizens charters
as prescribed by R.A. 9485 or the Anti-Red Tape Act of 2007.

Replicating Nagas success

The institutionalization of Nagas innovative services and


programs has resulted in the steady growth and development
of the civil society and a culture of active people participation
in governance. Local government units from across the country
can easily replicate Nagas success by studying their individual
situations, analyzing their strengths and weakness, and adopting
measures to ensure the efficient delivery of government services.

Local government units can start by engaging the different sectors


in dialogues and regaining their trust. By building partnerships
with the citizenry and encouraging constituents to share their
feedback and recommendations, city or municipal officials
can come up with a better picture of their current situation.
From this, planners and local leaders can forge concrete
ways of promoting people participation in local government
affairs. Adopting a policy of government transparency and
accountability coupled with productivity incentives will also
encourage government employees to perform their duties and
responsibilities as mandated by law.

Adopting new technology to better inform constituents of


ongoing government programs and projects will also foster a
culture of cooperation between government organizations and
the civil sector. LGUs can also provide better opportunities for
NGOs and POs to air their concerns directly to local executives
and legislators. LGUs can also establish umbrella organizations
Building Local Capacities:
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like the NCPC to help members of civil society organize themselves


and be an effective force in local governance.

A potential disadvantage would arise if citizens and customers of


public services do not become vigilant in asserting their rights.
Without accompanying mechanisms to hear and recognize
complaints over poor public service, the purpose of a Citizens
Charter is defeated and it becomes a mere cosmetic in public offices.

The advantage of having a Citizens Charter like Nagas lies in


its empowerment of ordinary citizens in service delivery. Before,
customers are at the mercy of government workers because there
are no transparent performance metrics on which service quality
can be measured. A service charter addresses this gap.

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four

Using Surveys
to Gauge
Participation
Effectiveness
By G Sevilla Alvarez and
Ma. Constante A. Perfecto

s one of its major and critical components, the Philippine


Public Transparency Reporting Project (PPTRP) developed the
Media and Public Transparency and Accountability Surveys
which aimed to produce a baseline study to guide project thrusts
and activities and an end-of-project survey/report to examine
changes in perceptions, behavior and impact on media coverage of
corruption as a consequence of the project and the establishment
of transparency mechanisms for media-citizen engagement.
The survey reports were produced in early 2010 and mid-2011 by
the Center for Community Journalism and Development, one of
the four partner organizations in PPTRP.
The baseline study looked at present levels of effectiveness of
knowledge, skills, attitudes and practices around corruption
reporting by media as reported to PPTRP by different groups in
Mindanao and the Visayas. It also looked at how effectively media
is perceived to be collaborating with civil society when working on
such issues. Study respondents were drawn from the media itself,
civil society, government (local government units, state agencies,
etc.), and from the general public.

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97

Two FGDs were conducted for the baseline survey: one in


Catbalogan City, Samar and another in Kidapawan City, North
Cotabato. A total of 60 respondents, 30 from each province,
participated in the FGDs and completed the survey questionnaires.
Representation by gender from the media sector was about equal
with a little over 50 percent composed of female respondents.
The respondents were asked to answer a 21-item questionnaire
prior to the conduct of the half-day FGD for each of the sectors.
The FGD covered eight to nine questions to gather deeper insights
and to clarify some points raised and responses in the questionnaire.
The survey results are based on perceptions thus a qualitative
pattern or trending of their answers were described in the report.
The report compares perception-responses of the media sector with
those of the two other sectors: the local government/government
agency and civil society organizations/citizens in the survey areas.
Comparison was made primarily on the role of media in addressing
corruption issues in the past up to the present. The results provided
substantial baseline information for project implementation and
evaluation.
The baseline results showed that there was a common definition of
corruption in the Philippines and its prevalence (with examples in
their area/province), as cited by majority of the respondents from
the two areas and from across the three sectors:
Corruption is perceived by the three sectors in both
provinces to be basically stealing of public funds.
It is described on paper (questionnaire) and during the
FGD as misuse (squandering/wastage), abuse and
stealing of not just funds programmed for projects of
the local government for personal gain but also of other

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Philippine Public Transparency Reporting Project

logistics/resources of government, e.g. time, office


supplies, fertilizers, medicines.
Corruption may take many forms such as SOP (standard
rates given to an official or an employee, high-ranking or
otherwise), rigged bidding, overpricing, non-delivery of
goods (ghost projects), asking the poor or employees to
sign blank vouchers, payroll padding, etc.
Misuse and abuse also refer to power, authority and
influence.
Corruption is very rampant in all levels of government.
Primarily committed by government officials, employees
of government also commit corruption.
Corruption is also prevalent in the private sector, even at
home.
Some respondents said that even in media there is
corruption manifested by what is popularly referred to
as envelopmental journalism, ATM journalism, ACDC (attack and collect, defend and collect), being part
of a payroll of one official, or favors in exchange for
positions in government for the media person himself or
herself or even his/her relatives.
Corruption has affected delivery of basic needs of Filipinos.
It is described as social cancer which has spread in society.

The end-of-project survey, on the other hand, identified changes,


if any, in behavior and perspectives of the target respondents
and assessed the immediate impact of the project. Target survey
respondents were the community media, civil society groups, public
sector (LGUs, government agencies, etc), and citizens at large
covering Samar and North Cotabato but also including Tagbilaran
City in Bohol through a focus group discussion. For the complete
survey results, please click on www.transparencyreporting.net

Using Surveys to Gauge Participation Effectiveness

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The survey assessed areas of:


How helpful or useful were the PPTRP activities or
interventions for the target, anti-corruption constituencies
composed of media, civil society and the general public;
The emerging role of media in addressing corruption issues,
if any; and,
Media-citizenship partnership during the past year
In general, the both media and civil society respondents said that
their understanding of corruption and accountability has improved
to a great extent due to various PPTRP activities such as training
workshops, roundtable discussions, website, commissioning of
stories and the like.
The survey results also noted that formerly competing media
organizations have now developed partnerships in addressing
corruption issues as exemplified by two rival radio stations in
Kidapawan, North Cotabato.
Those in Samar, on the other hand, are exploring new ways of
expanding their efforts in working with civil society organizations
for greater transparency in governance.
Media-citizen partnerships to address corruption were also formed
through formal and informal mechanisms such as the Multi-Sector
Alliance for Transparency and Accountability (MATA-Samar)
and the Watchful Advocates for Transparent, Clean and Honest
Governance (WATCH-Kidapawan), North Cotabato.

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Philippine Public Transparency Reporting Project

In Bohol, where a focus group discussion was held in June 2011,


the formation of the Transparency Network for Transformation
(Bohol TNT), enabled the media and anti-corruption groups in
the province to band together under a common banner.
Some key lessons:
Kidapawan City, North Cotabato
Civil society participation strengthened partnership among
news organizations
Pooling resources and stories made for stronger impact in
the fight against corruption
Clarity of goals, purpose, vision can unite different sectors
Skills enhancement important element in strengthening
anti-corruption initiatives
Monitoring and evaluation of multi-sector efforts e.g.
strengths, weakenesses can help improve partnership
Working together (media and CSO) has encouraged
citizens to speak out and report on wrongdoing
Catbalogan, Samar
Media should be involved every step of the way when
undertaking a partnership initiative especially in a
addressing transparency issues
Efforts should focus on issues, not personalities
Everyone should be clear about the objectives of the
partnership and what is expected of the members
Transparency and accountability must also be
institutionalized within the partnership
Addressing the sustainability of the partnership must be
given priority also
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101

Tagbilaran City, Bohol


Working together has increased peoples awareness about
graft and corruption
There is a need to establish feedback mechanisms so that
members of the alliance will also know if they are going in
the right direction
Revived the interest of the media in doing in-depth
reporting on corruption
That working together (media and citizens) brings a sense
of hope that the fight against corruption can move forward

The End-of-Project Online Surveys


An Internet-based online survey was also used for the end-ofproject assessment to support the focus group discussions so
that a wider sampling of respondents can be covered and also
to gauge public awareness of what people can contribute in
addressing corruption through the www.transparencyreporting.
net website and other PPTRP participation avenues.
While they are a critical way of checking on the validity of
projects, few civil society organizations (CSO) relish end-ofproject surveys given that it signals the moment when they
essentially lose control. It may be the time staff find out that all
their ideas and assumptions were wrong and that their activities
and outputs achieved very little -- if anything at all.
Some may try and structure and frame their surveys in ways
that block out the unwelcome and further their cause. But
essentially, the more open-ended, widely distributed and

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Philippine Public Transparency Reporting Project

public the surveys are; the more you are likely to get honest
and helpful feedback.
This is why we are publishing the unedited and unadulterated
versions of our surveys online for all to see. Our project
was a learning curve and is now ending and we simply hope
something can come out of it and others pick up some of the
pieces and hopefully move things forward.
We produced and published two surveys one was aimed at
and sent out privately to direct project participants -- all those
who participated in our trainings and events since March of
last year and to those who wrote for us, or wrote to us with
suggestions, allegations or complaints. A second survey went
out to all of those who might not have heard of our project
and was aimed at trying to measure wider citizen perception
of where things current stand as regards transparency and
accountability in the Philippines.
Nobody in their right mind likes responding to surveys sent
out by email and yet we have had a good response so far
and are well on course for 200 plus respondents by the time
this book appears. The split between project and non-project
participants is pretty evenly matched but obviously we are
very interested to hear from those who were not in any way
involved in our project. That hopefully tells us something of
our real impact if any.
Impact is a very difficult word to pin down. Change even
harder. We will leave it to others to say what impact and
change if any we delivered over the space of the past year

Using Surveys to Gauge Participation Effectiveness

103

and a half. Certainly though, it seems what we were thinking


and what many people believe appear to match up that real
sustainable change in terms of corruption and transparency
and accountability will only come through a sustained effort
by citizens.
Reliance on a top-down approach is not enough and respondents
so far are not at all sure the government has a real strategy to
engage the People.
We encourage everybody to look through the results of the
surveys and think about what might and should come next
and how to take things to the next level and really tap into the
People Power we all so readily cite, but seldom actually employ.
You can find the complete end of project survey results on our
website which will remain open beyond August 30 when our
project closes.
We wish you all the best of luck. It has been a wonderful
learning experience for us all.
Alan Davis

Project Director, PPTRP

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Philippine Public Transparency Reporting Project

A selection of questions and responses from our non-participant


survey: Visit our website to see the complete results from both
surveys (project participants and non-project participants).
1. Do you agree that building greater public sector transparency
and accountability in the Philippines will directly help to
reduce public sector corruption?
Response
Percent

Response
Count

Yes

94.7

89

No

2.1

Not sure

3.2

Answered question

94

Skipped question

2. Do you sense or do you see real progress over the past 12


months in government attempts to improve transparency and
accountability and battle corruption?
Response
Percent

Response
Count

Yes I do

55.4

51

No I dont

34.8

32

Not sure

9.8

Answered question

92

Skipped question

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105

3. Do you think the current administration already has the ideal


strategy in place to build greater transparency and accountability
and combat corruption?
Response
Percent

Response
Count

Yes

22.3

21

No

60.6

57

Dont know

17

16

Answered question

94

Skipped question

4. What do you think is the reason for the lack of an ideal


government strategy? (you may choose more than one answer)

106

Response
Percent

Response
Count

Our culture makes


it impossible to
combat corruption

25.7

19

Lack of vision and/


or practical ideas

56.8

42

Lack of political
support

39.2

29

Lack of political will

66.2

49

Lack of funds to
implement the
necessary change

18.9

14

Concern that any


real change will fail
because of the power
of vested interests

63.5

47

Others (please specify)

17

Answered question

74

Skipped question

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Philippine Public Transparency Reporting Project

5. Do you think this administration is able to improve transparency


and accountability and reduce corruption all by itself?
Response
Percent

Response
Count

Yes

14.9

14

No

73.4

69

Not sure

11.7

11

Answered question

94

Skipped question

6. To what extent does the Governement need to work in


partnership with other groups and sectors to seriously improve
transparency and accountability and so reduce corruption?
Response
Percent

Response
Count

To a great extent

91.2

83

To some extent

5.5

No need for it

1.1

Don't know

2.2

Answered question

91

Skipped question

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7. To what extent is the Government ALREADY working in


partnership with other groups and sectors to seriously improve
transparency and accountability and so reduce corruption?
Response
Percent

Response
Count

To a great extent

4.4

To some extent

54.4

49

No need for it

28.9

25

Don't know

12.2

11

Answered question

90

Skipped question

10

8. Which of the following is important in improving transparency


and accountability and tackling corruption? (you make tick
more than one box if you wish)
Response
Percent

Response
Count

The Executive
(President and his
Administration)

88.9

80

The Legislature

76.7

69

The Judiciary

76.7

69

Constitutional
Bodies such as
COA and the
Ombudsman

87.8

79

The Sandiganbayan

63.3

57

Religious Groups

48.9

44

The Media

76.7

69

Civil Society

73.3

66

Citizens' Groups

74.4

67

Don't know

108

Answered question

90

Skipped question

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Philippine Public Transparency Reporting Project

9. Which of the following is doing a GOOD job in improving


transparency and accountability and tackling corruption? (you
make tick more than one box if you wish)
Response
Percent

Response
Count

The Executive
(President and his
Administration)

41

34

The Legislature

8.4

The Judiciary

7.2

Constitutional
Bodies such as
COA and the
Ombudsman

21.7

18

The Sandiganbayan

3.6

Religious Groups

13.3

11

The Media

56.6

47

Civil Society

57.8

48

Citizens' Groups

47

39

Don't know

Using Surveys to Gauge Participation Effectiveness

9.6

Answered question

83

Skipped question

17

109

10. Which of the following is doing a POOR job in improving


transparency and accountability and tackling corruption? (you
make tick more than one box if you wish)
Response
Percent

Response
Count

The Executive
(President and his
Administration)

43.8

39

The Legislature

74.2

66

The Judiciary

68.5

61

Constitutional
Bodies such as
COA and the
Ombudsman

69.7

62

The Sandiganbayan

53.9

48

Religious Groups

29.2

26

The Media

22.5

20

Civil Society

14.6

13

Citizens' Groups

13.5

12

Don't know

110

2.2

Answered question

89

Skipped question

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Philippine Public Transparency Reporting Project

11. How important do you see the following groups in helping


to build transparency and accountability and so combat
corruption?

Constitutional
Bodies

Very
Important

Important

Not Very
Important

89.7% (78)

8.0% (7)

2.3% (2)

Don't
Know

Rating
Average

Response
Count

0.0% (0)

1.13

87

Judiciary

87.2% (75)

9.3% (8)

3.5% (3)

0.0% (0)

1.16

85

Media

70.5% (62)

22.7% (20)

6.8% (6)

0.0% (0)

1.36

88

Civil Society

71.3% (62)

25.3% (22)

3.4% (3)

0.0% (0)

1.32

87

Religious
Groups

42.7% (35)

39.0% (32)

18.3% (15)

0.0% (0)

1.76

82

Local
Citizen-driven
Accountability
Watchdog
Groups

78.4% (69)

19.3% (17)

2.3% (2)

0.0% (0)

1.24

88

Answered question

89

Skipped question

11

12. What do you think is the best approach to building transparency


and accountability and combating corruption?
Response
Percent

Response
Count

Top (governmentled) down

18.2

16

Bottom (citizenrydriven) up

4.5

Top down and


bottom up at the
same time

77.3

68

Don't know

Using Surveys to Gauge Participation Effectiveness

Answered question

88

Skipped question

12

111

13. To what extent do you agree that the more transparency and
accountability can be built from the bottom up, the more
sustainable and effective they will prove to be?
Rating
Average

Response
Count

Very much agree 89.8% (44)

10.2% (5)

0.0% (0)

0.0% (0)

1.1

49

Agree 57.7% (15)

30.8% (8)

0.0% (0)

11.5% (3)

1.65

25

Disagree

71.4% (5)

14.3% (1)

0.0% (0)

14.3% (1)

1.57

Disagree strongly

75.0% (3)

0.0% (0)

0.0% (0)

25.0% (1)

1.75

Not sure

66.7% (2)

0.0% (0)

0.0% (0)

33.3% (1)

Answered question

85

Skipped question

15

14. Do you agree with the statement that you dont have to be any
kind of expert to help build transparency and accountability
and so reduce corruption?
Response
Percent

Response
Count

Yes

90.8

79

No

9.2

Not sure

112

Answered question

87

Skipped question

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Philippine Public Transparency Reporting Project

15. Do you believe the internet and social media and/or citizens
networks can play an important part in building transparency,
accountability and combating corruption?
Response
Percent

Response
Count

Yes

96.4

81

No

1.2

Not sure

2.4

Answered question

84

Skipped question

16

16. Do you think it would be useful if there could be more


local citizens accountability groups set up in other Local
Government Units around the country - and that these groups
begin networking, sharing information and expertise?
Response
Percent

Response
Count

Yes

96.5

82

No

1.2

Not sure

Using Surveys to Gauge Participation Effectiveness

2.4

Answered question

85

Skipped question

15

113

17. Do you think it would improve transparency, accountability


and the fight against corruption if media, civil society and local
citizen watchdog groups around the country were to find ways
of coming together and working in a structured way?
Response
Percent

Response
Count

Yes

92.9

78

No

2.4

Not sure

4.5

Answered question

84

Skipped question

16

18. Our project has spent some time setting up local citizen
watchdog and accountability groups in 4 pilot areas to
monitor, report on and engage with Local Government Units
on improving transparency and accountability issues. Do you
think this is a good idea?

114

Response
Percent

Response
Count

Yes

92.9

79

No

Not sure

7.1

Answered question

85

Skipped question

15

Philippine Public Transparency Reporting Project

19. Do you think greater public understanding of how public


finances work - how and where money is raised and spent and who decides these things - is important in helping build
transparency and accountability and so combat corruption?
Response
Percent

Response
Count

Yes

97.7

84

No

1.2

Not sure

1.2

Answered question

86

Skipped question

14

20. Is it more important to build transparency and accountability


and combat corruption at the national or the local level?
Response
Percent

Response
Count

National

4.7

Local

5.8

Both are equally


important

89.5

77

Don't know

Using Surveys to Gauge Participation Effectiveness

Answered question

86

Skipped question

14

115

21. How useful or effective has the project been in the following
areas? (If you are not familiar with our work in any area, please
tick dont know)

116

Very
useful
and
effective

Quite
useful
and
effective

Simplifying public
finance issues to
help improve citizen
monitoring and
participation in
governance

43.6%
(17)

25.6%
(10)

5.1% (2)

Building basic
citizen literacy on
public spending and
accountability issues

46.2%
(18)

25.6%
(10)

Reporting important
issue of transparency
and corruption

53.8%
(21)

Campaigning on
issues (i.e. like
political abuse of
public projects like
signages)

Not very
Don't
useful or know, can't
effective comment

Rating
Average

Response
Count

25.6% (10)

2.13

39

2.6% (1)

25.6% (10)

2.08

39

20.5%
(8)

2.6% (1)

23.1% (9)

1.95

39

44.7%
(17)

18.4%
(7)

10.5%
(4)

26.3% (10)

2.18

38

Setting up
pilot citizens'
accountability groups
around the country

57.9%
(22)

15.8%
(6)

2.6% (1)

23.7% (9)

1.92

38

Working on the Open


Budget initiative to
build participation
in national budget
preparations

43.6%
(17)

15.4%
(6)

7.7% (3)

33.3% (13)

2.31

39

Training media, CSOs


and local citizens on
transparency and
corruption issues

57.5%
(23)

15.0%
(6)

5.0% (2)

22.5% (9)

1.93

40

Other (please specify)

Answered question

40

Skipped question

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Philippine Public Transparency Reporting Project

End-of-Project Electronic Feedback


from Non-Project Participants
1. What youre doing is not easy but the results are indeed commendable. I do hope we can have more of this. Keep up the
good work. May the force be with you.
2. Hope what has been started by this project will be continued
and spread to wider areas. The local citizens groups hopefully
will multiply and positively help in curbing corruption at both
local and national levels.
3. Good luck on your project! May it help reduce corruption and
promote good governance in the Philippine government!
4. Hope this survey will aid you in coming up with concrete measures to at least combat corruption. I think the lifestyle check is
very good tool on this matter.
5. Great job. I wish this group can help set up a local corruption
watchdog in the province of Ilocos Norte.
6. You are doing the right dissemination of information that helps
those people who have slim knowledge of corrupt activity in
government.
7. Localization and training program have been very effective!
Good job!
8. Realization that we can do more for this country if we are aware
of whats happening and act, do something together for a better
and transparent governance.
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9. Salute to all your efforts to educate as many people and groups


as possible on public finance and budgeting system and in putting in place local citizens groups as watchdogs on transparency and accountability issues in key pilot sites
10. It is significant that you have covered corruption at the local
level, which is not touched by the mainstream media.
11. There should have been more announcements about the project so that most Filipinos would know that there is an ongoing
project like this. Advertise more....
12. Raising public awareness about fighting corruption and upgrading capabilities of CSOs to further promote transparency
and accountability
13. Information dissemination is highly effective to educate a
broader audience and sustaining it will likely result in a shift
in the mental atmosphere that will prove to be useful for the
success of this project.
14. I think it needs more public exposure on how to reach out to
common people, to make them understand that we can still do
something about this country that has been in poverty.
15. The Philippines is at a socio-political juncture wherein the opportunity for massively reducing, if not totally eliminating corruption is enormous. And your project is unquestionably contributing much. I am particularly wishing that you continue
assisting people in organizing community-driven accountability network/organization at the local level, and push for a more
vibrant national network/movement against corruption.

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16. Courage. Only few people have courage like you and willing to
sacrifice in the name of truth.
17. The website is a powerful medium -as a repository of stories,
links, related information. Sometimes, I cant finish reading up
on the many information that one can read or download!
18. Thanks very much for your project!
19. Willing to link up with your group
20. Good luck on your advocacy.
21. Very enlightening to ah. Tuloy niyo lang. Bangon Pinas :)
22. Stop piloting ... expand...extend...replicate if we wish see a big
difference and sustained effort
23. Theres a lot more to be done especially in creating a culture of
transparency and accountability among our people, regardless
of their age, gender, social status in life.
24. Well done PPTRP! Thank you and congratulations!
25. I think this a great time to unite and be part of building transparency in the government and fight graft and corruption.
26. I hope this Project and survey can help in building up the momentum for improved governance in the Philippines.
27. Good luck!

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119

28. I wish to be more updated of what is happening around my


home country Philippines since I am working very hard for my
familys future abroad.
29. Sana pwedeng maka-upload ng video sa website nyo in order to
improve the shame campaign against corrupt and irresponsible
government officials.
30. More power!

End-of-Project Electronic Feedback


from Project Participants
1. The project opened an avenue on matters relative to transparency and accountability of public officials where even an ordinary individual may be involved.
2. It re-awakens the interest of the ordinary citizens and made
them understand better their stake and responsibilities in the
community, in particular, and the country in general.
3. It encouraged the public to be vigilant against corruption or
about spending of peoples money.
4. The more people/constituents get involved in this advocacy/
campaign the more are aware of what must be done for the
development and welfare of the Filipino people. Pera natin to
so we must get involved.
5. It made young and aspiring media practitioners become more
aware and critical of corruption issues and how to handle such
a case if assigned.

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6. Vanish corruption, restore transparency.


7. It encouraged me to get involved in writing issues related to
corruption practices wherein I can express my own idea as an
individual. This is one way of helping our government. Being a
watchdog to our government officials.
8. I hope we can explore/expose the assets from the government
that are not being used in Lanao del Sur and other ARMM
regions, like misusing their IRA, Municipal Halls and other
projects.
9. Made more people aware of the issues.
10. It would somehow make more Filipinos aware that something
is being done to minimize or downgrade the culture of corruption in the country.
11. Clearly, it helped give a better insight on how government
should work and how citizens can help raise red flags in case
they observe some questionable actions.... we have raised the
right queries and the local officials are surprised how better
informed we have become. They seem to act more cautiously
nowadays.
12. It raised the awareness of the media and civil society circles on
reporting graft and corruption in the government, as the well
the skills on how to report it.
13. It widens our sense of responsibility to get involved in promoting a vigilant, responsible and objective media in Surigao City.

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14. In Bohol, more people are becoming vigilant. Moreover, the


creation of the transparency group Bohol Transparency Network for Transformation (Bohol TNT) brought about by the
PPTRP project has unified transparency undertakings in the
province.
15. Public transparency and accountability must introduce also in
the barangay level through massive campaign.
16. The strong public participation is a manifestation that they
were convinced of the PPTRPs objectives
17. The information about transparency and corruption was concretized. The details of incidents were made known to the
public. It didnt only prove that corruption was real, it showed
how it was happening.
18. It alarmed the corrupt officials in our locality and somewhat
inform people that there is a venue for their grievances related
to corruption.
19. Awareness among the media practitioners and the civil society
and business sector.
20. Generated and stock-piled a wealth of information and analysis
on Philippine budgeting system which could be easily accessed
in the website.
21. Further drumming up the need for public transparency and
demanding accountability from public officials.
22. It increased awareness.

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Philippine Public Transparency Reporting Project

23. Somehow, the training had helped me become more watchful/


conscious about the government and the people in our government behave. Learning specific laws on corruption and other
things, I became more assertive of my rights as a citizen and as
someone contributing to the governments treasure.
24. The project has encouraged other concerned citizens to report
corruption issues to recognized anti-corruption unit (i.e.
MATA).
25. Created awareness to Journalists and to ordinary citizens as to
how certain activities/projects of the government are done, its
governing laws and principles and the possible areas for violation (corruption) that ideally every citizen must take an eye on.
26. The project served as an eye to public servants and became
venue in discussing and providing information to the public.
27. Government Officials became more conscious they are watched
and monitored and acting scrupulously in making decisions.
Revenue collection increased by using a better and more transparent policy on tax collection...It has deterred some officials
in doing violations and made them cautious of what they are
doing. It has encouraged support of some Local legislators.
28. It helped in a number of cases and instances since the project
helped organise anti-corruption efforts at various levels and has
resulted in government filing some cases versus corrupt officials
who were never touched in all these years.
29. The Project made available to common people the information
which main stream media would not dare publish. The Project
protects no other interest but the peoples.
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123

30. People become more aware of the issues on corruption, how it


is done, and how people can help in its prevention. They also
become aware of the need to be informed of what the people
in the government are doing, and the need for cooperation and
involvement with other sectors to curb corruption and encourage transparency in government dealings.
31. The formation of a local accountability group is already a bold
step towards citizens participation in building better governance in the country.
32. The project through its efforts, I think, had successfully made
the public aware of what it can also do for its part to help end
corruption in the country and not just complain about it.
33. It mobilized both CSOs and Media to become partners in
transparency and accountability.
34. People get to be aware that there is indeed a group who serve
as watchdogs, thus corruption activities are being limited or
stopped. Increased awareness on corruption issues was better
achieved.
35. I think the project was able to achieve its goal in forming an anti-corruption group in the local level, but it needs more force,
advocacy and better actions to be able to be effective.
36. Developing and supporting local transparency reporting
groups and looking deeper into corruption and transparency
issues which are not usually reported in the mainstream media.
37. Conduct further trainings on the same mission at the barangay
level, if possible.

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Philippine Public Transparency Reporting Project

38. If individuals participation be appreciated in the involvement


of governments affairs there is a certainty that corruption be
vanished.
39. Exposed more corruptions!!
40. Give citizens a safer way to report corruption.
41. Schools are the most ideal venue to educate our young and
instill values for a better Philippines.
42. Im not really sure how to go about it but I believe that if organizations such as yours touch base with the younger generations, we can have a better informed citizenry.
43. Project needs to be continued and expanded.
44. Perhaps an extension of the project.
45. We need more informative trainings for our media group
(NUJP Surigao City).
46. I think the project is too short, it might be better or best if
their will be a continuity of the same project in the province of
Bohol or in other areas.
47. More on transparency and accountability advocacy will introduce in the whole constituency.
48. PPTRP project should be sustained and expanded.
49. The project is so useful in advocating anti corruption but it
would be much better if the project could give full legal protecUsing Surveys to Gauge Participation Effectiveness

125

tion and financial support if necessary to the people who are


widely open in exposing anomalies of the corrupt local officials
from the lower to the higher court.
50. More trainings!
51. Its an honor to write for PPTRP. I hope Id be given a chance
to write for this website again.
52. It would be great if this project be extended and inform more
people regarding the website.
53. Bohol Transparency Network for Transformation, of which i
am a member must be sustained. It helps the media on reporting public transparency and accountability not only on public
finance but all other dimension/concerns and values of local
governance.
54. I hope this project is extended.
55. The challenge to educate the people continues.
56. It would be brilliant to conduct more related trainings involving larger number of participants to widen constituency advocating for a less corrupt country.
57. This project had been effective and efficient in the pursuit of
transparency, accountability and some LGU officials find it a
good instrument in encouraging them become more sincere
in doing their functions and duties as public servants. One
year was not enough. It was a good start that needs to become
sustainable and vigilant people will become more inspired to

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help check graft and corruption because they feel somebody up


there (PPTRP) supports their effort...We strongly suggest for
the next round of similar or the same project to continue after
August.
58. More leeway, wider scope and a longer for the project so that
there will be continuity and more results can be achieved.
59. Hope it continues with its advocacy!
60. There still exist a need to capacitate more sectors of our society,
particularly the youth in promoting transparency and curbing
corruption.
61. The PPTRP is a very good initiative. However, the term is too
short.
62. Replicate the local transparency reporting efforts in other areas
and strengthen information and education work.
63. Congrats, more power!

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five

Managing Risks

eporting corruption is not easy. In fact, in some cases, it is


even downright dangerous. Of the Filipino journalists who have
been killed in the line of duty, a number died while trying to
expose wrongdoing. This situation has earned for the Philippines
the dubious distinction of being the most dangerous country for
journalists, second only to Iraq for several years running. It has
also ranked low on press freedom and human rights ratings.
But the news media have a critical role in anti-corruption efforts
by being the principal watch group monitoring and exposing
corruption through news stories. They also have other important
functions that include sustaining transparent information flow and
fostering public opinion intolerant of corruption.
Several media organizations and support groups such as the
International News Safety Institute, Peace and Conflict Journalism
Network, Center for Community Journalism and Development,
International Committee of the Red Cross, National Union of
Journalists of the Philippines, to cite a few, have developed safety
programs, training modules, and alerts systems that could prove
useful in making the corruption reporting environment a little bit
more safe for journalists and media staff.
Managing Risks

129

Some of these are compiled in this guide for easy reference by


journalists and citizens who seriously want to combat corruption.

Personal Safety and Security


Detecting and Dealing with Surveillance













Always be alert
Familiarize yourself with your own neighborhood
Take note of suspicious looking persons or vehicles
Surreptitiously take pictures of the above
Report presence of suspicious persons or vehicles to
colleagues, friends and family
File a complaint with the police
Surveillance can also be detected in chokepoints like traffic
lights, busy intersections, bridges, narrow streets
When driving be on the lookout for vehicles, especially
motorcycles, following you
Keep car windows up and doors locked
Keep your vehicle in good running condition
When driving on wide avenues, try to stay close to the
center island
Avoid walking in deserted or dark streets or alleys
If you think you are being followed, head for the nearest
police precinct
In a taxi, constantly check for vehicles that may be closely
tailing you. Ask the driver to honk the horns and head for
the nearest police station

Dealing with Death Threats


Write down the exact wording of the threat including details
about how the threat or threats were received. Doing this

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Philippine Public Transparency Reporting Project

enables you to provide the police with a thorough report


Threats should not be taken lightly. Immediately inform
superiors, colleagues, and family about the incident
Create a lot of noise about the threat. Seek support from
press associations and other media groups. Ask news
organizations to publicize it
Send alerts to press groups such as the NUJP which has an
alerts system in place
Save threats sent through SMS in your phone memory so
that you can have a support document when reporting to
proper authorities
If the threats are imminent, consider temporarily moving
to another place
Ask for police protection only when absolutely necessary
and if the police in your area can be trusted

Securing the Newsroom


Inform your editors or immediate superiors of your
whereabouts of itinerary for the day; let them know who
you will be meeting and at what time and where
While on dangerous assignments work out a system with the
news desk so that you can be in constant communication
with the office or that you could reach them immediately
Sensitive files, documents, compact discs, hard disk drives,
thumb drives, video and audio recordings should be
secured. Ideally these should be stored in a secure place
outside the newsroom
As much as possible limit phone interviews to non-sensitive
information
Have a buddy system in place (to keep track of each others
whereabouts)

Managing Risks

131

Newsrooms should conduct regular safety training for the


staff

Keeping Your Family Safe


Instruct family members and household help not to give
out information through the phone or to strangers
Conduct regular drills with the family members on taking
cover from gunfire, etc.
Tell family members to take note of the presence of
suspicious vehicles or persons
Keep doors securely locked; make sure these have deadbolts
Designate a safe room within the house where family
members can seek cover in case of an attack. The room
should have a sturdy door, a telephone line, water and
food, flashlight, first aid kit, and a possible escape route
Entrust house keys to a trusted neighbor; do not leave
under doormats or in flowerpots
If possible, get a watchdog
Enlist the help of neighbors in detecting surveillance

What to Do When Targeted


Lessening the Chances of Being Abducted
Make an assessment of the risk before going on assignment
by asking yourself the following questions:
Does the area where I am going have a history of
hostage-taking and violence?
Is there a history of journalists being abducted or held
hostage?

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Who are the key players? Military, bandits, rebels,


militia forces, political clans or local warlords? Or a
combination of the above?
What are the relationships between the warring groups?
Between clans?
Are the sources of information highly reliable?
Before grabbing that exclusive interview, ask:
Has this person granted interviews before?
Has he/she kept his/her word?
To whom does that person usually give interviews?
If rarely, why now? Why you?

Surviving Abduction
To survive an abduction, you must retain mental alertness
and a positive attitude
Do not antagonize your abductors; do as you are told
Mentally converse with someone (your partner, colleague,
spouse, children) to help you keep the situation in
perspective
Use whatever methods you have for relaxing like mentally
picturing what you will do when you return home
Try to seek some improvements in your condition especially
if you are being held for more than a day
Make it difficult for your captors to treat you inhumanely
by talking about your family
If you are being brutally treated, try to mentally converse
with your loved ones or talk to your God
Do not believe in promises that you will soon be released

Managing Risks

133

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Philippine Public Transparency Reporting Project

six

Reference Guide

his is a listing of organizations and initiatives on transparency


and anti-corruption that may be able to help those interested in
pursuing similar efforts in their areas.

Concerned Citizens of Abra for Good


Government (CCAGG)
The Concerned Citizens of Abra for Good Government is a civic
organization that works in the remote, rural province of Abra in
the northern Philippines. Established in 1987, CCAGG specializes
in monitoring the implementation of infrastructure projects in the
province. Their community-based approach relies on the voluntary
efforts of area residents who verify whether bridges, roads, and
other infrastructure projects are executed according to contract
regulations. These citizen audits are then verified by civil engineers
working with CCAGG and turned into evidence-based reports
that aim to disclose potential corruption in the implementation of
public infrastructure projects.
In 2000 CCAGG was awarded one of Transparency Internationals
first Integrity Awards for its fight against graft and corruption

Reference Guide

135

at the local level. CCAGGs main activities include monitoring,


evaluation, and auditing; training and networking with other civil
society groups in the province; and designing and implementing
development projects that will directly benefit the local community.

Civil Service Commission

The Civil Service Commission was conferred the status of a


department by Republic Act No. 2260 as amended and elevated
to a constitutional body by the 1973 Constitution. It was
reorganized under PD No. 181 dated September 24, 1972, and
again reorganized under Executive Order no. 181 dated November
21, 1986. With the new Administrative Code of 1987 (EO 292),
the Commission is constitutionally mandated to promote morale,
efficiency, integrity, responsiveness, progressiveness, and courtesy
in the Civil Service.
For more information, visit www.csc.gov.ph

Ehem!
Ehemplo is a call of people dedicated to live a life of honor, integrity
and good examples. Ehemplo is based on espousing Ehem! the
urgent call for cultural reform against corruption in the Philippines.
Ehem aims to bring people to a renewed sensitivity to the evil of
corruption and its prevalence in ordinary life. It seeks ultimately
to make them more intensely aware of their own vulnerability
to corruption, their own uncritical, often unwitting practice of
corruption in daily life
Contact Fr. Bert Alejo for more information at paringbert@yahoo.
com

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Government Watch (G-Watch)


Government Watch or G-Watch, is a social accountability actionresearch program of the Ateneo School of Governance (ASoG),
that was launched in 2000 as a reaction to numerous reports of
corruption and inefficiencies in the administration of then President
Joseph Ejercito Estrada. To complement perception surveys,
G-Watch deployed fresh college graduates as G-Watch monitors to
visit government project sites and collect documents to be used to
assess actual government performance in service delivery.
G-Watch provides tools and methods for ordinary citizens
participation in the monitoring of government service delivery
programs. The tools and methods answer the question that any
ordinary citizen wants to ask: Is government delivering what it
has promised? Basically, these tools and methods compare input
against output, plan against accomplishment, and expectation
against actual result.
Pacifico Ortiz Hall, Social Development Complex
Ateneo de Manila University
Tel. +63 2 920-2920

International Center for Innovation,


Transformation and Excellence in
Governance
Founded on July 8, 2005, InCITEGov is a non-profit organization
whose objectives are to provide the basic foundations of government
reforms needed to improve the quality of governance and livelihood
in the Philippines, creating an environment for a peaceful transition
of government towards genuine social reforms. Its methods include
Reference Guide

137

providing the necessary materials and resources for case-studies that


would help prosper ideas towards developing the countrys needs as
well as a stable platform for maintaining the momentum towards
social change from within our country. Their site www.incitegov.
org provides additional information.

Multi-Sectoral Alliance for


Transparency and Accountability in
Samar (MATA-Samar)
MATA-Samars main objective is to promote greater awareness on
anti-corruption, transparency, and public accountability. It also
aims to address the misuse of public funds in the province through
timely and factual reporting of public spending.
Members agreed that the group would work for participatory
democracy, responsive governance and an empowered citizenry to
help achieve a progressive and peaceful Samar. It envisions Samar
to be a livable community that is corruption free and whose quality
basic services would be accessible to everyone.
The multi-sector feature of MATA-Samar makes it easier for
the group to undertake various monitoring activities. Members
complement each other. Information dissemination campaigns are
being done by media partners such as samarnews.com. A website
was also created to maximize information sharing while social media
such as FaceBook, Tweeter, and blogs are also being harnessed.
For more information, click on http://www.mata-samar.org

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Philippine Public Transparency Reporting Project

Office of the Ombudsman


The Office of the Ombudsman is a bureau under the Department
of Justice whose obligation is to provide the necessary legislative
powers to protect the Filipino people against corruption from
within the government. Visit www.ombudsman.gov.ph for more
information.

Peoples Action against Corruption


(PAAC)
The Mindanao-based anti-corruption coalition was founded in early
2011 to address the obvious and proven practice of corruption in
the Philippine revenue system.
Email: support@againstcorruption.info
Website: http://www.againstcorruption.info

Pera Ng Bayan
The Makati Business Club, the Coalition against Corruption, and
other good governance advocates have signed a memorandum
of understanding with the Department of Finance, forging a
partnership for good governance. At a ceremony held at the Land
Bank of the Philippines along Ayala Avenue in Makati City, the
signatories pledged to encourage citizens participation in reporting
anomalies and other forms of graft and corruption through the
DOFs Pera ng Bayan website.

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139

To promote transparency, accountability, and private-sector


participation, the Pera ng Bayan website makes it possible for
citizens to send information to the DOF and its agencies, the
Bureau of Internal Revenue and Bureau of Customs, regarding
cases of tax evasion and smuggling, as well as provide feedback on
the performance of these agencies officials.
For more information click on http://perangbayan.com

Philippine Public Transparency


Reporting Project
PPTRP is the second collaborative effort among four media
development organizations whose goal is to raise public
awareness through various media public sector transparency and
accountability. It aims to increase the capacity of journalists,
civil society and the public in selected areas in the Philippines to
expose corrupt behavior in the public sector and to promote anticorruption best practices through:
Conduct of anti-corruption Information, Education,
Communications (IEC) campaign, such as the website
portal, reporting and confidential hotline to report
corruption allegations
Training of local media practitioners and civil society
workers on reporting corruption and accountability
Creation of anti-corruption network and constituency
among media and civil society groups and others
For more information visit www.transparencyreporting.net/
index.php

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Transparency and Accountability


Network (TAN)
The Transparency and Accountability Network is a growing
coalition of multi-sectoral organizations, which seeks to contribute
significantly to the reduction of corruption in the Philippines.
It is a non-stock, non-profit organization formed primarily for the
purpose of exchanging information on developments and initiatives
in transparency and accountability issues.
TAN is also a venue for organizations to come together and
embark on initiatives of common interest, whether involving the
entire network or a group of like-minded organizations within the
network.
Check out their site at www.tan.org.ph

Transparency International
Transparency International is a global network of organizations
whose goal is to fight corruption through the use of the media.
Established in 1993 and with more than 90 affiliates worldwide,
TI is committed to utilizing various resources to organize, deliver,
project and maintain its capacity through the help of its partneraffiliates and empower people and the local community in the fight
against corruption.
Visit www.transparency.org/about_us for details.

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Glossary of Some
Legal Terms

seven

Compiled by the American


Bar Association-Rule of Law
Initiative (ABA-ROLI)

ABANDONMENT
OF OFFICE OR
POSITION

The crime committed by a public officer who,before the acceptance


of his/her resignation, abandons his/her office to the detriment of the
public service. (Article 238, Revised Penal Code).

APPROVED
BUDGET FOR
THE CONTRACT
(ABC)

As used in the Government Procurement Reform Act, it refers


to the budget for the contract duly approved by the Head of the
Procuring Entity (government agency), as provided for in the proper
appropriations law of the procuring entity. (Section 5 (a), R.A. No.
9184).
The ABC shall reflect the most advantageous prevailing price for the
government. (Section 36, R.A. No. 9184).

BAC

Bids and Awards Committee composed of five (5) to seven (7) members
established within the procuring entity (government agency). (Section
11, R.A. No. 9184).

BIDDING
DOCUMENTS

Documents issued by the procuring entity (government agency), which


contain all information necessary for a prospective bidder to prepare a
bid. (Section 5 (c), R.A. No. 9184).

BRIBERY

The giving of a benefit (can be in any form, whether cash, kind, or


service) in order to unduly influence an action or decision.

BRIBERY
(DIRECT)

The crime committed by a public officer who, in exchange for any offer,
promise, gift, or present, (i) agrees to perform an act in connection
with the performance of his/her official duties, whether or not such act
constitutes a crime, or (ii) agrees to refrain from doing something which
it was his official duty to do. (Article 210, Revised Penal Code).

BRIBERY
(INDIRECT)

The crime committed by a public officer who accepts gifts offered to


him/her by reason of his/her office. (Article 211, Revised Penal Code).

Glossary of Some Legal Terms

143

CITIZENS
CHARTER

This refers to the service standards of all government agencies in the


form of information billboards, which are required to be posted at the
main entrance of offices or at the most conspicuous place, and in the
form of published materials written either in English, Filipino, or in the
local dialect, that detail:
(a) The procedure to obtain a particular service;
(b) The person/s responsible for each step;
(c) The maximum time to conclude the process;
(d) The document/s to be presented by the customer, if necessary;
(e) The amount of fees, if necessary; and
(f ) The procedure for filing complaints. (Section 6, R.A. No. 9485).
The Citizens Charter is a requirement under R.A. No. 9485, otherwise
known as the Anti-Red Tape Act of 2007.

COMPETITIVE
BIDDING

A method of procurement which is open to participation by any


interested party and which consist of the following processes:
advertisement, pre-bid conference, eligibility screening of bids,
evaluations of bids, post - qualification, and award of contract. (Section
5 (e), R.A. No. 9184).
All procurement shall be done through this method, except when resort
to alternative methods of procurement is justified and approved by the
Head of the Procuring Entity. (Section 10, R.A. No. 9184).

CONFLICT OF
INTEREST

The situation where a public officers personal interests become


incompatible with the objective exercise of his/her official functions.
(Corruption Glossary).
A situation where a public official or employee is a board member, an
officer, or a substantial stockholder of a private corporation, or where
such public official has a substantial interest/ownership in a business,
and the interest of such corporation or business, or the public officials
rights or duties therein, may be opposed to or affected by the faithful
performance of official duty. (Section 3 (i), R.A. No. 6713).

CORRUPTION

144

There is no single, comprehensive, universally accepted definition


of corruption. The United Nations Convention Against Corruption
(UNCAC) deemed it fit not to provide a single definition, but rather,
provide a list of specific types or acts of corruption.
(UN Anti-Corruption Toolkit)

Philippine Public Transparency Reporting Project

CORRUPTION
OF PUBLIC
OFFICIALS

This is the crime committed byany person who made the offers or
promises or gave the gifts or presents to public officers in the crimes of
direct or indirect bribery. (Article 212, Revised Penal Code).

COVERED
INSTITUTION

This term, as used in the Anti-Money Laundering Act, refers to the


following financial institutions:
(1) banks, non-banks, quasi-banks, trust entities, and all other
institutions and their subsidiaries and affiliates supervised or
regulated by the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP);
(2) Insurance companies and all other institutions supervised or
regulated by the Insurance Commission; and
(3) (i) securities dealers, brokers, salesmen, investment houses and
other similar entities managing securities or rendering services
as investment agent, advisor, or consultant, (ii) mutual funds,
close and investment companies, common trust funds, preneed companies and other similar entities, (iii) foreign exchange
corporations, money changers, money payment, remittance, and
transfer companies and other similar entities, and (iv) other entities
administering or otherwise dealing in currency, commodities
or financial derivatives based thereon, valuable objects, cash
substitutes and other similar monetary instruments or property
supervised or regulated by Securities and Exchange Commission.
(Section 3(a), R.A. No. 9160).

COVERED
TRANSACTION

This term, as used in the Anti-Money Laundering Act, refers to a single,


series, or combination of transactions involving a total amount in excess
of four million Philippine pesos (Php4,000,000.00, or an equivalent
amount in foreign currency based on the prevailing exchange rate)
effected within five (5) consecutive banking days. These, however,
do not include those transactions between a covered institution and a
person who, at the time of the transaction, was a properly identified
client and the amount is commensurate with the business or financial
capacity of the client; or those with an underlying legal or trade
obligation, purpose, origin or economic justification.
It likewise refers to a single, series or combination or pattern of
unusually large and complex transactions in excess of four million
Philippine pesos (Php4,000,000.00), especially cash deposits and
investments having no credible purpose or origin, underlying trade
obligation or contract. (Section 3(b), R.A. No. 9160).

Glossary of Some Legal Terms

145

DIRECT
CONTRACTING,
OTHERWISE
KNOWN AS
SINGLE SOURCE
PROCUREMENT

An alternative method of procurement that does not require elaborate


bidding documents because the supplier is simply asked to submit a
price quotation or a pro-forma voice together with the conditions of sale,
which offer may be accepted immediately or after some negotiations.
(Section 48 (b), R.A. No. 9184).

DIVESTMENT

The transfer of title or disposal of interest in property by voluntarily,


completely and actually depriving or dispossessing ones self of his/
her right or title to it in favor of a person or persons other than his/her
spouse and relatives. (Section 3 (j), R.A. No. 6713).

Direct contracting may only be resorted to under the conditions


specified in Section 50 of the Government Procurement Reform Act.

The resignation by a public official from his position in any private


business enterprise (including a partnership) within thirty (30) days
from his assumption of office and/or ridding himself of his shareholdings
or interest within sixty (60) days from such assumption.
Divestment is not required of those who serve the Government in an
honorary capacity, laborers and casual or temporary workers.(Section 9,
R.A. No. 6713).

146

FIXER

Any individual, whether or not officially involved in the operation


of a government office or agency,who has access to people working
therein, and whether or not in collusion with them, facilitates speedy
completion of transactions for pecuniary gain or any other advantage or
consideration. (Section 4 (g), R.A. No. 9485).

FRONTLINE
SERVICE

The process or transaction between the public and government offices or


agencies involving applications for any privilege, right, permit, reward,
license, concession, or for any modification, renewal or extension of the
enumerated applications and/or requests which are acted upon in the
ordinary course of business of the agency or office concerned.(Section 4
(c), R.A. No. 9485).

GOVERNMENT
ELECTRONIC
PROCUREMENT
SYSTEM (G-EPS)

The single portal that shall serve as the primary source of information
on all government procurement, which shall be utilized by all procuring
entities for the procurement of common supplies. (Section 8, R.A. No.
9184)

Philippine Public Transparency Reporting Project

GOVERNMENTOWNED OR
CONTROLLED
CORPORATION
(GOCC)

Any agency organized as a stock or non-stock corporation, vested with


functions relating to public needs whether governmental or proprietary
in nature, and owned by the government directly or through its
instrumentalities either wholly, or, where applicable as in the case of
stock corporations, to the extent of at least fifty-one per cent (51%) of
its capital stock.
GOCCs may be further categorized by the Department of Budget and
Management, the Civil Service Commission, and the Commission on
Audit for purposes of the exercise and discharge of such government
agencies respective powers, functions and responsibilities with respect to
such corporations. (Section 2 (13), E.O. No. 292).

GRAFT

Political corruption with an element of greediness. It may also refer to


the rewards of corruption (e.g., payoffs).
(Corruption Glossary)

GRAND
CORRUPTION

Corruption that pervades the highest levels of a national


Government, leading to a broad erosion of confidence in good
governance, the rule of law and economic stability.
(UN Anti-Corruption Toolkit)

HEAD OF THE
PROCURING
ENTITY

As used in the Government Procurement Reform Act, it refers to:


(i) the head of the agency or his duly authorized official, for national
government agencies;
(ii) the governing board or its duly authorized official, for
government-owned and/or government-controlled corporations; or
(iii) the local chief executive, for local government units.
In a department, office or agency where the procurement is
decentralized, the Head of each decentralized unit shall be considered as
the Head of the Procuring Entity subject to the limitations and authority
delegated by the head of the department, office or agency. (Section 5 (j),
R.A. No. 9184).

Glossary of Some Legal Terms

147

ILL-GOTTEN
WEALTH

Any asset, property, business enterprise or material possession of any


person acquired by a public officer, directly or indirectly through
dummies, nominees, agents, subordinates and/or business associates, by
any combination or series of the following means or similar schemes:
1) Through misappropriation, conversion, misuse, or malversation of
public funds or raids on the public treasury;
2) By receiving, directly or indirectly, any commission, gift, share,
percentage, kickbacks or any other form of pecuniary benefit from
any person and/or entity in connection with any government
contract or project or by reason of the office or position of the
public officer concerned;
3) By the illegal or fraudulent conveyance or disposition of assets
belonging to the government or any of its subdivisions, agencies or
instrumentalities or government-owned or government-controlled
corporations and their subsidiaries;
4) By obtaining, receiving or accepting directly or indirectly
any shares of stock, equity or any other form of interest or
participation, including promise of future employment in any
business enterprise or undertaking;
5) By establishing agricultural, industrial or commercial monopolies
or other combinations and/or implementation of decrees and
orders intended to benefit particular persons or special interests; or
6) By taking undue advantage of official position, authority,
relationship, connection or influence to unjustly enrich himself or
themselves at the expense and to the damage and prejudice of the
Filipino people and the Republic of the Philippines. (Section 1 (d),
R.A. No. 7080).

148

ILLEGAL USE OF
PUBLIC FUNDS
OR PROPERTY
(TECHNICAL
MALVERSATION)

The crime committed by a public officer who applies any public fund
or property under his administration to any public use other than for
which such fund or property was appropriated by law or ordinance.
(Article 220, Revised Penal Code).

LIMITED
SOURCE
BIDDING,
OTHERWISE
KNOWN AS
SELECTIVE
BIDDING

An alternative method of procurement that involves direct invitation


to bid by the procuring entity from a set of pre-selected suppliers or
consultants with known experience and proven capability relative to the
requirements of a particular contract. (Section 48 (a), R.A. No. 9184).
Limited Source Bidding may only be resorted to under the conditions
specified in Section 49 of the Government Procurement Reform Act.

Philippine Public Transparency Reporting Project

MALVERSATION
OF PUBLIC
FUNDS OR
PROPERTY

The crime committed by a public officer who, by reason of the


duties of his office, is accountable for public funds or property, but
misappropriatesthe same or permits any other person to take such public
funds, or propertythrough abandonment or negligence. (Article 217,
Revised Penal Code).

MONEY
LAUNDERING

A crime whereby the proceeds of an unlawful activity (as defined in


the Anti-Money Laundering Act) are transacted or attempted to be
transacted to make them appear to have originated from legitimate
sources. (Section 4, R.A. No. 9160).

NEGOTIATED
PROCUREMENT

An alternative method of procurement whereby the procuring entity


directly negotiates a contract with a technically, legally and financially
capable supplier, contractor or consultant.(Section 48 (e), R.A. No.
9184).
Negotiated procurement may only be resorted to under the conditions
specified in Section 53 of the Government Procurement Reform Act

NEPOTISM

The prohibited appointment in the national, provincial, city and


municipal governments or in any branch or instrumentality thereof,
including government-owned or controlled corporations, made in favor
of a relative within the third degree either of consanguinity or affinityof
the appointing or recommending authority, or of the chief of the bureau
or office, or of the persons exercising immediate supervision over him.
The following, however, are exempted from the operation of the rules on
nepotism:
(a) persons employed in a confidential capacity
(b) teachers
(c) physicians
(d) members of the Armed Forces of the Philippines. However,
full report of such appointment shall be made in each particular
instance to the Civil Service Commission.
(Section 59, E.O. No. 292).
In local governments, the prohibition covers relatives by consanguinity
or affinity of the appointing or recommending authority within the
fourth civil degree. (Section 79, Local Government Code).

PETTY
CORRUPTION

Corruption that involves exchange of small amounts of money and


granting of minor favors.
(UN Anti-Corruption Toolkit)

PLUNDER

The crime committed by a public officer who, by himself or in


connivance with others, amasses, accumulates or acquires illgotten wealth through a combination or series of overt or criminal
acts particularly described in Section 1(d) of the Plunder Law, in
the aggregate amount or total value of at least fifty million pesos
(P50,000,000.00). (Section 2, R.A. No. 7080).

Glossary of Some Legal Terms

149

POSSESSION OF
PROHIBITED
INTEREST
BY A PUBLIC
OFFICER

The crime committed by a public officer who, directly or indirectly,


becomes interested in any contract or business in which it is his official
duty to intervene. (Article 216, Revised Penal Code).

PREVENTIVE
SUSPENSION

An interim remedial measure to address the situation of an official who


has been charged administratively or criminally, where the evidence
preliminarily indicates the likelihood of, or potential for eventual guilt
or liability.
Preventive suspension is imposed under the Local Government Code
when the evidence of guilt is strong and given the gravity of the offense,
there is a possibility that the continuance in office of the respondent
could influence the witnesses or pose a threat to the safety and integrity
of the records and other evidence.
Under the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act (R.A. No. 3019), it is
imposed after a valid information (which requires a finding of probable
cause) has been filed in court.
Under the Ombudsman Act (R.A. No. 6770), it is imposed when, in the
judgment of the Ombudsman, the evidence of guilt is strong; and (a) the
charge involves dishonesty, oppression or grave misconduct or neglect in
the performance of duty; or (b) the charges would warrant removal from
the service; or (c) the respondents continued stay in office may prejudice
the case filed against him. (Aldovino, Jr., et al. vs. COMELEC, et al.,
G.R. No. 184836, December 23, 2009).

PROCUREMENT

The acquisition of Goods, Consulting Services, and the contracting for


Infrastructure Projects by the Procuring Entity, as defined under the
Government Procurement Reform Act.
Procurement also includes the lease of goods and real estate. (Section 5
(n), R.A. No. 9184).
Note: Procurement of real property shall be governed by the
provisions of Republic Act No.8974, entitled An Act to Facilitate the
Acquisition of Right-of -Way Site or Location of National Government
Infrastructure Projects and for Other Purposes and other applicable
laws, rules and regulations.

PROCURING
ENTITY

150

Any branch, department, office, agency, or instrumentality of the


government, including state universities and colleges, governmentowned and/or government-controlled corporations, government
financial institutions, and local government units procuring Goods,
Consulting Services and Infrastructure Projects. (Section 5 (o), R.A. No.
9184).

Philippine Public Transparency Reporting Project

PROLONGING
PERFORMANCE
OF DUTIES AND
POWERS

The crime committed by a public officer who continues to exercise the


duties and powers of his office, employment or commission, beyond the
period provided by law, regulation or special provisions applicable to the
case. (Article 237, Revised Penal Code).

PUBLIC
DOCUMENT

Any instrument authorized by a notary public or a competent public


official, with the solemnities required by law. (Cacnio vs. Baens, 5 Phil.
742).
A public document must be made accessible to,and readily available for
inspection by, the public within reasonable working hours. (Section 5
(e), R.A. No. 6713).

PUBLIC
OFFICER/
OFFICIAL

Any person who, by direct provision of the law, popular election or


appointment by competent authority, shall take part in the performance
of public functions or duties in government either as an employee, agent
or subordinate official, of any rank or class. (Article 203, Revised Penal
Code).
This includes elective and appointive officials and employees, permanent
or temporary, whether in the career or non-career service, including
military and police personnel, whether or not they receive compensation,
regardless of amount. (Section 3 (b), R.A. No. 6713).

RECEIVING ANY
GIFT

The act by a public officer of accepting directly or indirectly a gift from


a person other than a member of his/her immediate family, on behalf of
him/herself or of any member of his family or relative within the fourth
civil degree (either by consanguinity or affinity). This includes gifts
received even on occasions of a family celebration or national festivity
like Christmas, if the value of the gift is, under the circumstances,
manifestly excessive. (Section 2 (c), R.A. No. 3019).

REPEAT ORDER

An alternative method of procurement that involves direct procurement


of goods from the previous winning bidder, whenever there is a need to
replenish goods procured under a contract previously awarded through
Competitive Bidding.(Section 48 (c), R.A. No. 9184).
Repeat Order may only be resorted to under the conditions specified in
Section 51 of the Government Procurement Reform Act.

REPORT CARD
SURVEY

A survey to be initiated by the Civil Service Commission, in


coordination with the Development Academy of the Philippines, which
shall be used to obtain feedback on how provisions in the Citizens
Charter are being followed by all offices and agencies providing frontline
services. (Section 10, R.A. No. 9485).

Glossary of Some Legal Terms

151

SALN (Statement
of Assets, Liability,
and Net Worth)

A public document required to be filed under oath by all public officials


and employees, except those who serve in an honorary capacity, laborers
and casual or temporary workers, which should contain information
on the assets, liabilities, net worth, and a disclosure of their business
interests and financial connections and those of their spouses and
unmarried children under eighteen (18) years of age living in their
households. (Section 8, R.A. No. 6713. See also Section 7, R.A. No.
3019).
SALNs must be filed:
(a) within thirty (30) days after assumption of office;
(b) on or before April 30, of every year thereafter; and
(c) within thirty (30) days after separation from the service.(Section
8, R.A. No. 6713).

SHOPPING

An alternative method of procurement whereby the procuring entity


simply requests for the submission of price quotations for readily
available off-the-shelf goods or ordinary/regular equipment to be
procured directly from suppliers of known qualification. (Section 48 (d),
R.A. No. 9184).
Shopping may only be resorted to under the conditions specified in
Section 52 of the Government Procurement Reform Act.

UNEXPLAINED
WEALTH

152

An amount of property and/or money manifestly out of proportion


to a public officers salary and to his other lawful income, whether
in his name or in the name of other persons, which is a ground for
the dismissal or removal of such public officer, absent a reasonable
explanation for the disproportionate amount of property and/or money.
(Section 8, R.A. No. 3019; See also R.A. No. 1379).

Philippine Public Transparency Reporting Project

UNLAWFUL
ACTIVITY

As used in the Anti-Money Laundering Act, is the crime or offense


which generates dirty money. It is commonly called the predicate crime.
It refers to any act or omission or series or combination thereof involving
or having direct relation to the following:
Kidnapping for ransom
Drug trafficking and related offenses
Graft and corrupt practices
Plunder
Robbery and Extortion
Jueteng and Masiao
Piracy
Qualified theft
Swindling
Smuggling
Violations under the Electronic Commerce Act of 2000
Hijacking; destructive arson; and murder, including those
perpetrated by terrorists against non-combatant persons and
similar targets
Fraudulent practices and other violations under the Securities
Regulation Code of 2000
Felonies or offenses of a similar nature that are punishable under
the penal laws of other countries. (Section 3(i), R.A. No. 9160).

UNLAWFUL
APPOINTMENTS

The crime committed by a public officer who knowingly nominates or


appoints to any public office any person lacking the legal qualifications
therefor. (Article 244, Revised Penal Code).

Glossary of Some Legal Terms

153

References:
Act No. 3815, The Revised Penal Code
Corruption Glossary, U4 Anti-Corruption Resource Centre.
http://www.u4.no/document/faqs5.cfm#top
Executive Order No. 292, TheAdministrative Code of 1987
Republic Act No. 1379, An Act Declaring Forfeiture In Favor Of
The State Any Property Found To Have Been Unlawfully Acquired By
Any Public Officer Or Employee And Providing For The Proceedings
Therefor
Republic Act No. 3019, Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act
Republic Act No. 6713, Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for
Public Officials and Employees
Republic Act No. 7080, An Act Defining And Penalizing The
Crime Of Plunder
Republic Act No. 7160, Local Government Code of 1991
Republic Act No. 9160, Anti-Money Laundering Act of 2001
Republic Act No. 9184, Government Procurement Reform Act
Republic Act No. 9485, Anti-Red Tape Act of 2007
UN Anti-Corruption Toolkit, 3rd Ed. Vienna. September 2004.

154

Philippine Public Transparency Reporting Project

Philippine Public Transparency


reporting project office
Alan Davis
Project Director
Rorie Fajardo
Project Manager
Len Daniel
Angelica Carballo
Lahlee Taguba
Staff

Philippine Public Transparency Reporting Project


(Pera Natin to!)
www.transparencyreporting.net
Over 100 unique reports, investigations, commentaries and backgrounders produced on transparency and accountability issues, plus
29 blogs and 46 project news reports;
More than 390 journalists, activists and citizens trained on budget
and financial issues. 22 training workshops held across the country
and 9 public roundtables;
Four local pilot citizens watchdog and accountability groups set
up and formally linking with the Department of Interior and Local
Government at the latters request. More potential groups coming
forward for help;
Dedicated educational and interactive website set up to build understanding and engagement in transparency and accountability issues.
More than 140,000 visits to the site since March 23, 2010;
Front page coverage and editorial citations in the leading Philippine
daily newspaper;
Project handbook commissioned and published; Baseline study and
two end-of-project electronic surveys produced generating more
than 170 individual responses so far;
More than 1,000 Facebook fans.

This publication was made possible through the funding support from
the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) with
technical support from the American Bar Association Rule of Law
Initiative (ABA ROLI).